If your first mediation session is on your schedule, you are likely feeling nervous. You may not know what to do or how the other party will behave. Anticipating your first mediation meeting can be stressful, but you do not need to worry.
First, it is important to remember that mediation is a great option to keep emotions at bay, save money and get through your divorce faster. Next, you can take some simple steps to prepare so you are not so anxious.
1. Bring your financial documents
Organize important financial papers beforehand, including the following:
- A list of all your assets
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Credit card statements
- Mortgage balances
- Brokerage accounts
- Mutual funds
- Retirement funds
Compile these documents in an organized list or spreadsheet. This will help the first session go as efficiently as possible. Double-check with your attorney what exact documents you need and whether you should bring originals or copies.
2. Be ready to negotiate
Your emotions are probably running high as you enter the divorce process. While your instinct may be to argue with your spouse, this is not what mediation is about. Mediating your divorce is all about negotiation. It is designed to be a nonadversarial process. Take some deep breaths and talk to supportive people beforehand to get your emotions under control.
3. Create a budget
You will be able to effectively negotiate matters such as property division and support payments if you know what you can afford. Develop a budget including expenses related to your household, vehicle, children and health insurance. Bring this document to mediation with you so you have a good starting point for negotiations. This will help the mediator and your spouse understand what is realistic.
Mediation is an effective method for negotiating a divorce. But even if you know it is a good idea, it can still be nerve-wracking. By following these guidelines, you will feel more calm about the situation.