Preparing for Mediation
At the outset I gather information about your situation, take into consideration decisions you have already made and identify issues that remain. I help you understand the topics that need to be addressed. This helps us all with preparing for the mediation sessions.
The most extensive information that needs to be gathered is financial. Honesty and completeness is essential. The legal process for obtaining a divorce in California requires that you provide each other with detailed listings of your income, expenses, assets and debts. Often in mediation we may want to have some supporting documentation for these listings. This may include tax returns; bank, mortgage, investment account and credit card statements; W-2s; pay stubs and insurance policies. The aim is to provide each of you with reliable and complete information regarding your financial condition to facilitate your informed decision making.
Often during mediation sessions we identify information or documents that need to be brought to the next session. I will put these action items in writing as part of each session’s write-up. Divorce mediation is most efficient and effective when both of you come to the sessions well prepared, which includes having done the action items assigned to you.
Here are some tips for preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for a mediation session:
- Think about the reasons you want the mediation to be successful;
- Reflect on what is most important to you in the topics that will be discussed;
- Be open to sharing your concerns, ideas and opinions;
- Be willing to listen even if you don’t agree;
- Keep an open mind and try not to make assumptions;
- Recognize this is a challenging experience for both of you and there may be strong emotions under the surface;
- Put the well-being of your children ahead of your personal desires;
- Focus on the future. Even if something hasn’t worked in the past, there may a way to make it work in the future, especially if all concerns are communicated and addressed;
- Give some thought to fairness in this context and how you will you know when it is okay for you to make binding agreements;
- Be patient. It often takes time for the pieces to fall into place in a way that will work for both of you
Here are additional thoughts and resources for making your divorce at least in some ways a positive experience.