Before you attend your first divorce mediation session, you might be feeling various levels of distress, nervousness and every emotion in between. You might be worried that it will not go well, that you and your husband will not be able to reach an agreement, or that your emotions will get the better of you.
With a little bit of planning, you can prepare for your mediation so that you feel confidant and ready when you walk into the mediator’s office. Follow these tips to make your first mediation meeting successful.
Organize your financials
Much of the contention that occurs during a divorce revolves around finances and dividing marital property. For example, you could be looking at a battle over who gets the Westerville home. The best thing you can do is to walk in with a complete picture of your marital finances. This includes an updated list of bank accounts and their balances, the values of retirement accounts and investment portfolios, and even the value of your living room furniture. Also, you will need to collect all of the information you can on any debt you and your husband have.
Control your emotions
Before your first meeting, take some time to focus and clear your head. Keep in mind that mediation is a negotiation process and you will have to compromise on certain issues. This is not the time for releasing any pent-up anger at your spouse. This might mean you should schedule an appointment with a therapist, attend a support group, or vent to a close friend prior to the appointment.
Create a budget
The goal of the mediation is for you to get the divorce settlement you need. In order to do this, you have to know what it is you need before you attend the first mediation session. Sit down with your accountant or financial advisor and make a budget that addresses your living expenses. This will give you a minimum floor that you can accept as a settlement.
Find out about your rights
Find out as much as you can about your rights and obligations. The more you know about such matters, the more confident you will feel when you attend the first mediation session. Assume that your ex is doing his homework as well and if he knows significantly more than you do about Ohio marital property and custody laws, he could have a distinct advantage over you.
Bring a list of concerns
Bring a list of your questions and concerns so that you can address them during the mediation. For example, you might worry about your husband leaving town with the kids during the holidays. Mediation is the time to work out the specifics when it comes to every single aspect of your divorce.
If you are considering using mediation for your divorce, you might be worried about what to expect and how best to prepare for the process. The above tips can help you get ready for your first mediation session.