Divorce mediation is the final bastion for most divorced couples and a favorable alternative to going through an often messy, and usually expensive legal battle in court. A misstep at this stage could derail the entire mediation process and you’ll have a hefty price to pay. Here’s a quick look at some dos and don’ts that you should make your mantra during the process.
Do go in with an open mind
Being flexible and keeping an open mind is underrated when it comes to divorce mediation. If you approach the process as something that you must succeed at together, as a team then you will get the job done. Head in like it is a battle and no one will win.
Do go to a counselor together before divorce mediation begins
Use the divorce mediation to work out legal and financial intricacies. A counselor can help you work through the negativity and emotions so that you can approach the mediation more clinically.
Do treat the mediation differently than a court battle
A mediation is meant to be just that – a discussion of two opposing views, to find some common ground so a mutually acceptable solution can be arrived at. In this case, an agreement on child custody, the division of property and other assets as well as alimony payments or spousal support if any. It is neither the right time nor the right platform for a full scale mudslinging battle with your spouse, even if you are the wronged party. Focus on the goal – getting to a solution – rather than on the person across the table from you.
Don’t expect too much of your spouse
Equally dangerous is erring on the side of too much faith. Your lingering love for your soon to be ex, could be dangerous as you second guess your decision. However, remember, your spouse might not be in the same headspace as you, and may not share your feelings. Don’t be blindsided because you failed to do your own homework and relied on their goodness to do the best for you. No one else has your best interests at heart at this time, barring your divorce attorney (if you hired right).
Don’t expect miracles to happen in court
While the divorce mediation process may seem futile at times, keep at it. It is a much more level playing field where you have a say in the final decision and agreement. Once a case goes to court, you will need to rely on the discretion of the judge and the ability of your divorce attorney against your spouse’s legal team. And once the court has made their decision you will have to live with it. Remember, things may not always go your way even if you think you have a watertight case.
Don’t resort to ranting on social media
Social media is a great place to vent, but hold back until the divorce proceedings are complete. Things you say there are visible for the world and your spouse’s friends and family to see. Something you say in the heat of the moment could come back to hurt your case in mediation or court. It is best to have these discussions offline, one-to-one in confidence with your divorce attorney or trusted friends and family only.
Gerald A. Maggio is a trained Orange County divorce mediator who has amicably resolved cases many cases out of court, as well as an experienced divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Maggio founded California Divorce Mediators in 2012 with the belief that although “not every marriage can be saved, every family can” and a mission to save families from the financial and emotional distress associated with traditional divorce litigation. California Divorce Mediators is located in Irvine, California, and serves the Orange County area and other counties in California offering divorce mediation, child custody mediation and mediation of other family law matters.