If you are preparing to go through the divorce mediation process, you're likely wondering what you can expect so that you have a heads up. You can break down divorce mediation to four essential steps that you must do to get through it.
Find A Mediator
The first steps will be finding the right divorce mediator for you. This person should be a neutral party, so it cannot be someone that either person has an existing professional or personal relationship with. Their goal is to move the discussion forward and help reach terms for the divorce, and that cannot be done fairly if they are partial to one person. It will help to find a divorce mediator with your spouse and have an initial consultation together, which will ensure that the mediator is not getting a partial view of the reason behind the divorce.
Identify All Contested Issues
You'll want to limit your time with a mediator to just those issues that are contested in a divorce. There is no point in spending the time discussing issues that you agree to, even if it is just affirming your joint decision. This means that you will have to work out issues with your spouse and find out what you do not agree on.
For example, you'll need to go through your list of assets and decide how you want to divide things. Keep track of what you agree on, and make a separate list of those things you do not agree on. These will be the issues that you need to make a final decision on during mediation.
Find Solutions With Your Mediator
Your mediator will take your list of issues that you are undecided on and help you work through them. They should have an attitude that provides some give-and-take about certain issues so that the final decision is fair. They may look through items that you have previously made a decision about, and use those to help justify how other matters should be settled. For example, if you agreed to let your spouse have the house because they will have primary physical custody, then a mediator may help give you more visitation days.
Draft A Final Agreement
The goal is to reach a final agreement regarding all matters of the divorce. Once that has been done, a formal agreement will be made that will be presented to a judge to be approved. Be aware that a judge will still have final say over some matters, such as custody and support payments.