How do I Prepare for Family Mediation?
Mediation is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to get a divorce. Still, just as when you are going through litigation, mediation sessions can quickly become heated and things can go wrong. Following the five tips below can help you avoid this, and ensure the proceedings are fair and that you recover the settlement you deserve.
Agree to Mediation with Your Spouse
Mediation is voluntary in Florida, meaning that you cannot force your spouse to get a mediated divorce if they do not want to. You and your spouse must agree to enter into mediation sessions in good faith or the process will not work. Talk to your spouse about the benefits and disadvantages of mediation, and determine if it is advantageous for your case.
During these initial conversations, you can also discuss the logistics. Will you divide the fees evenly? How much time are you willing to commit to sessions? These are important questions that should be answered prior to mediation. If your spouse is not interested in talking about mediation or agreeing on how it will work, mediation likely is not a good fit for your case.
You cannot enter into negotiations if you do not know what you are working with. Make a list of your assets and liabilities, including all property you own, financial accounts, investments, as well as debt. Also be sure to speak to your family lawyer and ask if you are required to file a financial affidavit. Having these documents on hand will help mediation proceed more smoothly, and more quickly.
Know Your Goals
Once you understand what assets and liabilities are at stake in the divorce, you can then decide what you want most out of the divorce settlement. This is much harder than many people think. You should spend a substantial amount of time thinking about what is most important to you, and what you can live without. Creating a list can help with this task. Drafting a budget and knowing what financial position you will be in after divorce can also help you establish your priorities.
Consider the Children
As a parent, you have to think about your children all the time and you should consider them both when you are in mediation sessions, and when you are not. Many parents want to spend as much time as possible with their kids, but it is important to remain realistic. For example, if your children will be going to school in a location that is not close to your home, it may not be in their best interests to live with you.
It is just as important that you consider the children when you are not in mediation sessions. Never speak poorly about your spouse to your children, or use visitation time as leverage with your spouse to get what you want. Divorce is hard enough on kids, and it is important to make the process as easy as possible.
Work with an Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer
Mediation is a more amicable way to get divorced in Florida, but that does not mean it is always easy. If you are considering divorce, our Tampa divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. are here to help. We have the necessary experience with mediation to guide you through the process, and we will also make sure you are properly prepared to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at (813) 672-1900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
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