Oct 17, 2022
How to Have an Effective and Efficient Mediation
Being a divorce attorney is not always easy. We are taking difficult situations and are dealing with clients who are emotionally charged. The process of divorce can be grueling. Divorce litigation can be very long and very expensive. Some couples choose mediation as a way to expedite the process along with saving some money.
While mediation does typically take much less time and takes much less money from your wallet, it does not necessarily mean the process will be easy. Yes, mediation is easier, but it still requires hard work by the parties. Below are some tips to help you if you decide to choose mediation. These tips are designed to make your mediation more effective and efficient.
Christine Lombardo-Zaun, Esq., an attorney-mediator at Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation, provides tips for those who choose mediation to help make it most effective and efficient.
1. Stipulations: Just like litigation, the courts will ask the parties if there are any stipulations or agreements. Divorcing couples have the burden of having to divide up assets and liabilities. Try to find those areas in which you both already agree so you can tell the mediator. This will hopefully allow you to easily identify those issues which are outstanding or still “on the table”.
2. Prioritize: With the outstanding issues, find a quiet place and time where you can sit and prioritize the list of outstanding issues: Sometimes there is still a large list so you can enumerate them from most important to least important, or you can separate them into three columns: non-negotiable, negotiable, and maybe. I included a “maybe” because maybe there are times when you need more information before you can assess the issue and decide on its priority.
3. “Rear view mirror”: A very important person told me this when I went through the process, and I have been helping many others by sharing this valuable piece of advice. Leave emotions and ego at the door. You have already made the decision to divorce. Or, conversely, you are on the receiving end of this news and are either fine with it or are still processing it. Wherever you are in the process, there is no room for fighting, or punishment. This slows the process down immensely. If you want to punish your soon-to-be ex, then mediation is not for you.
4. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you are fine waiving your right to alimony, then mean it. It does not help if you come back in two weeks having a change of heart. (This happens often once “friends” try to help you.). If you are unsure of important issues, ask to have time to consider this when you have a quiet and uninterrupted place to sit and think about it.
As I noted in previous blogs, there is no winning in mediation. If you can reach a settlement agreement you can live with, then I believe that you had a successful mediation. There are benefits to getting through this process quickly, both emotionally and financially. My hope is that if you are going through this process, you will find these tips beneficial.
Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation