How can people effectively prepare for divorce mediation?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Divorce

Many divorcing couples in Washington prefer to avoid litigated divorce proceedings. Even those who currently disagree about key family issues might hope to compromise with each other to settle their disagreements amicably.

Mediation is one of the most popular tools for pursuing an uncontested divorce. Those who do not yet agree on support, custody or property division matters can work with a neutral mediator to try to find compromises for those disagreements. Mediation often involves in-depth conversations about difficult matters, such as what happens with the family home.

How can those who want to attempt to resolve their issues in mediation prepare before a session?

Learn the legal basics

Mediation is an alternative to litigation. If it is unsuccessful, the spouses may end up in family court. Therefore, having a realistic idea about how the courts may handle custody, financial support and community property division can be quite beneficial. People can use the state standards as a baseline as they attempt to negotiate reasonable arrangements with their spouses.

Review the details carefully

Whether disagreements relate to Parenting matters or property division, those preparing for mediation need to know the details of the situation. Someone who has not carefully reviewed an inventory of marital assets, for example, may agree to a highly uneven division of marital property. Those seeking specific terms or concessions often need to be able to reference unique details about family circumstances that justify their requests.

Set clear goals

It is much easier to compromise in certain elements of a divorce when someone has already clearly established their priorities. Thinking about what issues matter the most and communicating that with an attorney can help someone strategize to increase their likelihood of achieving the goals that they deem the most important.

Leave room for compromise

One of the most common mistakes people make when coming to the mediation table is to start with the most reasonable offer they can make. The problem with this approach is that it puts someone at a disadvantage if they have to make concessions.

By starting from a point where someone seeks somewhat uneven property division terms, they have room to compromise as negotiations proceed. The attorney representing an individual can potentially give them an idea about terms that aren’t offensively imbalanced that they can propose as a starting point during negotiations.

Properly preparing for divorce mediation can increase the likelihood of successfully negotiating with a spouse and feeling long-term satisfaction with the terms that are ultimately set. Those who try to approach mediation in a pragmatic manner may find the process to be more beneficial and less stressful overall.

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