How to Prepare for Divorce Mediation

Man sitting and writing - How to prepare for divorce mediationIf you are going through a divorce, you definitely want to consider divorce mediation services San Diego couples rely on to help them reach mutually beneficial agreements. Divorce is a complicated time, both from an emotional and practical standpoint, so even couples who separated on amicable terms need guidance from a professional.

If you have decided to hire a divorce mediator, you have made a positive first step. However, even with the best of intentions, you still need to know what the role of divorce mediators are, and how best to prepare for the sessions.

Have all the necessary documents ready

Our divorce mediators are licensed and practicing attorneys. However, in divorce mediation, they do not act as attorneys of record to represent just one party. Instead, they provide legal information (not advice) in mediation in the capacity of attorney mediators. They can offer insights into matters such as estate planning and other financial matters from a legal standpoint.

Mind you, Pacific Coast Mediation offers team mediation, which means a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) may be present if requested to inform you of your options. They will not offer advice on what you should do but only inform you in a way that will enable you and your former spouse to reach an agreement.

The documents should include information on some or all of the following: important household contents, stock, mutual funds, brokerage accounts, retirement funds, real estate, vehicles, annuities, equity in companies, pending law suits (if there are any).

Own your emotions

Everyone asking how to prepare for divorce mediation should know that emotional preparation is crucial. Even if you bear your ex-spouse no ill will, you should be aware of your emotions. Even if you’re not mad at your former partner, you may be mad at the separation and the fact that it is happening in the first place. If you do not come to terms with your feelings before the divorce mediation sessions, they may resurface when you least expect them, threatening to jeopardize the agreement.

So, do a bit of soul searching and try to envision your life moving forward. Think about the things you want to pursue, privately and professionally. It might be useful to hire a therapist in addition to talking to family and friends. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling and talk about it before you start divorce mediation. Even though good divorce mediators provide support and compassion, divorce mediation should not be equaled to couples therapy.

Prepare for negotiation, not argument

Once you’ve defined some of your needs and goals, you should arm yourself with patience to hear and understand the other side. Your ex may not appear as supportive as you would want them to be, especially if your goals would influence the division of joint assets. Try to present your arguments and needs calmly – explain instead of demanding.

Divorce mediation is a two-way street – your ex also needs understanding and support for trying to redefine and reorganize their life. The roles you and your ex have in each other’s lives may have changed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look out for each other.

Set priorities

It’s vital that you identify what really matters to you and what you can do without. This will help you reach a mutually beneficial compromise instead of a concession you wouldn’t feel happy about. For example, if you are adamant on keeping certain possessions or assets, think about why you want them – do they have real value (sentimental or otherwise) or you’re just holding on to something you don’t really need?

Remember – you don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything just to avoid conflict. If you’re working on how to prepare for divorce mediation, you should know that divorce mediators are there to make sure each party has enough time and space to express their needs. So speak freely, but set your priorities beforehand.

Express your concerns

Divorce mediation should provide a safe and comfortable environment for both parties to express their concerns about their future lives. You may have some concerns regarding your ex’s life choices and how that would influence your children. Co-parenting is a challenging situation, and your ex needs to be aware of your concerns.

Use the sessions as a safe space where you and your ex can talk with compassion and understanding to express the concerns amicably. In any other setting, you doing so might come off as a reproach; but during divorce mediation, it’s a conversation where everyone is equally included and appreciated. What’s more, team mediation at PCM may include a Marriage and Family Therapist for parents who need additional support regarding the parenting plan or co-parenting skills.

Find a great divorce mediator

The role of a divorce mediator cannot be stressed enough. Even though the success of the mediation depends on you and how well you prepare, divorce mediation is a service that should be offered by skilled and experienced professionals. Not everyone can (nor should) be a divorce mediator. So, do your research. Find out as much as you can about the divorce mediators you wish to hire. Find out if they’ve appeared on TV or given any lectures. Try to meet them in person before actually hiring them.

Pacific Coast Mediation is different from other divorce mediators – we employ a unique team mediation approach. This means that we have a male and female mediator present to avoid the risk of perceived bias of either gender. Moreover, we have Certified Divorce Financial Analysts and other divorce specialists available for the sessions. All members of the mediation team share the same goals and values and are here to help you reach mutually beneficial solutions.

We also offer online divorce mediation if you are not available for in-person sessions. Call us to schedule an appointment and take a positive step towards a new life.