Mediation has been set in your matter. Mediation is a process by which you and the other side will attempt to come to a resolution on some or all of the issues to either avoid going to court or narrowing down the issues for the court. In an in person mediation, you and your attorney are in one room and the other side and their attorney are in another room and the mediator goes back and forth between the two rooms to try to see if there is common ground everyone can come to. During a virtual mediation the process is much the same except that you will be in a virtual room. If at any time you want to speak to your attorney without the mediator present you can request that. The mediator is there to act as neutral third party and can not decide any of the issues of your case. In fact, what happens at mediation is typically confidential so that it can’t be used against you later, which can in fact help lead to a resolution. We advise that you not have anyone else join you at your mediation as it may break the confidentiality of the mediation.
Be prepared to pay the mediator at the end of the mediation via credit or debit card. If something comes up and you can not make your mediation, you must let us know as soon as possible as we may need to obtain a court order to reschedule the mediation.
Below are some tips for your upcoming mediation:
- This is your opportunity to make decisions for you. If you and your spouse can’t come to a resolution at this time, the matter may need to go to a Judge for resolution. A Judge (who doesn’t know you, your spouse or your children will decide the big issues, but usually won’t spend time working out small details. If the small details are left unresolved it may create issues later on, ending you up back in court, so it is best to resolve whatever can be resolved during a mediation. P
- Be Organized. Gather as much documentation related to your divorce as possible. If your financial situation has changed since you made your mandatory disclosures, bring that information with you.
- Be Truthful. Trying to conceal or alter information that you are suppose to disclose during the divorce process may make your divorce more expensive ultimately for you. For example, if you fail to disclose an asset that is later discovered your spouse could be awarded a 100% of that asset.
- Make a List of what you want. The list should be in order of importance. Don’t be afraid. know what your living expenses are and what amount of money you need to sustain yourself (and your children) every month. It may be smart to meet with a financial advisor prior to your mediation (please contact us for a referral).
- Be reasonable and ready to compromise. Being reasonable with your expectations and compromising will get you to a middle ground, lessen the animosity and make for a less expensive mediation and ultimately less expensive legal battle. Plus it is always better if you can decide what is best for you rather than leaving those decisions to a Judge. We suggest you fully understand your “best” day in Court and your “worst” day in Court so that you can make an informed decision. If you don’t feel like you have a handle on those legal concepts prior to your mediation, please make sure to schedule a call with our office.
- Check your feelings at the door. Understandably, this is easier said than done in a legal case, which is highly emotional by nature, but the truth is bringing emotions to your negotiations hinders your negotiation skills. Doing things to intentionally create conflict or to instigate a fight will only cost you in the end. Understand that the Court system is simply not designed to punish the bad behaving spouse/parent or reward the good spouse/parent, so even if you feel you were wronged, it is likely the Court will not look at that type of evidence. If you start to feel overwhelmed ask for a break.
- The Mediator is a neutral third party. You may want to get the mediator to understand your side of things but don’t forget that the mediator is not there to decide who is right and who is wrong or really to decide anything. They are a communication facilitator and it is important that they understand the legal issues and strength/weakness of your legal position but do remember that they are on the clock and you are most likely paying by the hour, so its important to be succinct in your communications.
- Try Again. Just because your case doesn’t settle the first time you attend a mediation doesn’t mean that settlement is impossible. Continue to be reasonable and to keep an open mind and you may still reach a common ground.
- Don’t Feel Pressured. During a mediation you have a short amount of time to try to come to an agreement and reduce that agreement to writing. If at any time you feel like things are moving too fast or you feel uncomfortable, let your attorney know. Although we are here to help encourage you to a resolution you should never feel pressured into one by anyone. Once an agreement is signed, it may be difficult to set aside, so be sure this is how you want to go forward. Also keep in mind, that people experience many different emotions the day after a successful mediation. Some people may feel relief while others experience a “buyer’s remorse” feeling. These are all normal and its important to talk to your attorney after your mediation if you have concerns about what you’ve agreed to.
If you have any questions prior to your mediation, please reach out to Boca Family Lawyers.