For many–the major drawback for mediation is the unknown. Three steps get parties ready to move forward.
Mike saw the devastation of his friends’ divorces. Ralph’s children resented the divorce so much they fought every visit. Now, he rarely sees his girls. It was easier to fade than fight.
Another friend spent tens of thousands of dollars and all his vacation days in court hearings. A great attorney obtained legal victories. But these grew hollow as George saw his bank account diminish and his children’s hatred of him build.
Mike wanted something different. Both he and his wife loved the children. Mike knew they could work together for them.
Mike also wanted control over how the property was divided. A cautious man–he didn’t want to hand some judge access to all his property and wonder what he might have left.
So, Mike persuaded his wife to try mediation. Now what?
If you’re considering mediation, these steps prepare the way:
- Gather financial data. Divorce encompasses all the property brought into and accumulated during the marriage. The final decree will permanently decide how these assets are used to create financial footing for each party’s future. Understanding what you have lays the foundation for establishing a new life.
Gather bank accounts, investments, and tax records to create a full picture of assets. Likewise, gather information on all loans, credit cards, and other debts. This big-picture understanding of finances prepares you to make informed decisions.
Most couples find living expenses increase by 30% post-divorce. Some have the income to cover this gap. Many don’t. Create a budget for the variety of alternatives to be considered. Hard numbers define options. More, this step alone often helps delineate a path for using existing resources to create financial security for both households.
- Create a vision for the life you want. For many–divorce forces or offers a chance to start over. Given that life will change–create a vision for you would like the next stage to hold. This vision helps each person consider whether property and parenting options advance or preclude the desired outcome. Parties engage more confidently in discussions. Even better, they become more creative–increasing the chances for a good outcome for all.
- Go to uptoparents.org. This website helps parents understand the impact of divorce on children. Equipped with the resources this site offers, parents move beyond wanting to work together to knowing how. They gain insights on the importance of both parents. They learn how to talk to each other to make decisions for the children. They learn how to talk about each other to the children. They gain tools for creating a new family life.
After Mike and Debbie followed these steps, they felt ready to enter the world of mediation. No longer unknown–mediation became the vehicle for moving through divorce to a healthier future.