Divorce mediation is a way that you can work out the terms of your divorce with your ex-wife instead of going to a trial and letting the judge decide them for you. You must prepare before you go into the first mediation session. This preparation puts you in a position of being able to keep your wits about you and your emotions under control while you are working through the negotiations.
1. Investigate the situation
You must know the entire financial situation of the marriage before you go into mediation. This includes taking all bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, real estate holdings, and similar assets into account. Trying to find any assets your ex-wife hid during the marriage is a priority. Some spouses might hide assets in anticipation of filing the divorce.
Even if you don’t think she would hide assets, you should investigate the possibility. Tax returns, business records, public records, financial statements, social media accounts and other sources are useful for uncovering any hidden assets.
2. Think about how options will affect you
Once you know what property you must consider, you can think about different ways to divide it. Don’t think only of the short-term implications of property division options. Instead, think about how each option will impact you far into the future. You have to live on only your income now, so consider that when you decide what expenses you can afford.
This might mean that you should give up the marital home, but if the insurance, property taxes, mortgage and maintenance costs are going to cause stress, letting it go might be the best option you have. You also must think about how the debts you might be responsible for will impact your life. While you likely can’t get away from being responsible for some debt, don’t get railroaded into taking on more than your fair share.
3. Keep your emotions in check
Your emotional ties to the situation can get in your way during the divorce mediation process. Think clearly about each point presented during the mediation session. Use the information you gathered before the session and refer to lists you made regarding how things should be split. Your ex-wife wants what is in her best interest. Counter her points with what is in your best interest. Keep this up until you find a suitable compromise for each applicable point.