How to Prepare for your First Mediation Session

Although divorce mediation is not as stressful or formal a process as a family court trial, it is still important to prepare. Make sure that your financial forms are up to date and bring copies of documents that show the values of your assets and debts. If you have emails, text messages, photographs, or Facebook posts that help explain or illustrate your concerns, bring copies of those as well.

The ultimate goal of mediation is to create a settlement. Therefore, think about which issues are most important to you and how you want those issues to be resolved. If you have children, think about what you believe is best for them as they transition into a two-household family structure. Be flexible in your requests—mediation will be unsuccessful if you present a list of demands and refuse to negotiate or consider alternative. If there are issues that you feel must be resolved a certain way, be prepared to explain why.

Divorce mediation, though less adversarial than courtroom litigation, is still stressful and emotional. After all, you will be discussing how to end to your marriage. Therefore, it is important to keep your emotions in check as much as possible. Try to remain as objective as possible when discussing settlement possibilities with the mediator. Adopt a business-like tone and a future focus.

It is easy to forget about issues that may seem insignificant at the time, but will affect you and/or your children in the future. For example, if your children are young, you may not think about when they need a cell phone or who will provide car insurance. Bigger issues include how to handle relocation and/or unemployment. Avoid future litigation by making a list of everything that you think needs to be addressed during the divorce mediation. Your mediator can also assist you in identifying potential future issues you may want to address.

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