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The mediation process seems simple on the surface. It can actually be a very stressful period for everyone involved. This is especially true if you are going through a difficult divorce that involves children. You need to be ready for what is to come before the initial mediation session. Here is how to prepare for the mediation process.
Start Gathering Information and Paperwork
The first step is to start gathering information and paperwork that will be relevant to the mediation session. You specifically want to focus on financial documents such as paychecks, bills and bank statements. Bring papers showing the value of various assets. You want to be able to prove your claims and show the current financial situation to the mediator without any ambiguity. You should also organize the paperwork for easy access.
Make Lists of Issues, Questions and Goals
The next step is to make lists of issues, questions and goals that should be resolved by the end of mediation. You want to make these lists over the course of many days or a couple of weeks. Keep adding in new issues and goals as you encounter them. These lists are essential because they will prevent you from overlooking something important or being sidetracked during mediation.
Retain a Lawyer
You will most likely want to retain a lawyer in the time leading up to mediation. An attorney can attend mediation sessions if you want. Your lawyer can help to defend your rights and deal with complicated issues. Your spouse might also have a lawyer meaning you will need your own attorney as well. A lawyer can be invaluable when you are going through divorce mediation. Attorneys can be critical when attempting to formulate the terms of the final mediation agreement.
Consider Your Children
Take time to consider your children before mediation. You might want to talk to your kids to let them know what is happening and what might change. Keep them informed about the process. You should also think about what arrangements you would like related to your children. This could mean attempting to come up with a reasonable shared custody or other parenting plan that can be presented during divorce mediation.
Let Old Grudges Go and Be Open Minded
Part of preparing for divorce mediation is psychological. It is important to realize that successful mediation will involve listening to the other party and negotiating. You do not want to go into mediation expecting to argue over old points. Take time to relax and let old grudges go. You need to have an open mind. You will be spending a long time listening to points that you might not agree with. You must be prepared to remain calm during mediation and work with the mediator to reach amicable solutions.
Research the Law and the Mediation Process
A final step should be to research the law and mediation process before arriving for the first session. A good attorney can help you with this. Find out what to expect from mediation so that you are not surprised by the process. You will also want to start researching divorce law and find a trustworthy Manhattan divorce lawyer. That is important to establish what basic rights and obligations you have before speaking with the mediator. Although the mediator will likely describe these things to you, it is better to understand them all beforehand to improve your position.