How to Mediate Effectively:
Now that you have made it to the mediation stage in your family law case, there are a few things that you and your attorney can do to ensure this process is handled effectively.
(1) Many mediators send out a mediation packet once the mediation is scheduled. This mediation packet should be taken seriously and completed to your utmost ability. It gives the mediator information about you, the other party, and the issues involved in your case. The more knowledgeable your mediator is about your case, the more effective your overall mediation experience will be.
(2) If your case is a divorce with property issues, make sure you have prepared a sworn inventory and appraisement so that you can make sure all of the property issues are addressed. To be more organized, you could make a spreadsheet of assets and debts, with a column for the ones you would like and the ones you would like for your spouse to have.
(3) When dealing with child custody issues, it is important to make sure you are familiar with all of the possible rights/duties and injunctions that you could request.
(4) When making offers, do not make unrealistic offers that you know the other side is going to refuse. Mediation is not the time for making ridiculous offers and wasting time–remember, you have a set deadline of when you must accomplish mediation or otherwise, you have to start preparing for trial. Compromise is key to a successful mediation–you will have to be willing to give and take.
(5) Mediation is less expensive and less emotionally draining than actually going to trial. So, if you have one issue that you are going back and forth about, you do not want to spend thousands of dollars over that issue in trial–be creative and attempt to come up with a compromising resolution.
(6) Lastly, make sure you communicate with your attorney in advance and have a list of goals in mind. Be sure to go in with an open mind and positive attitude that you are going to be able to settle this case and move forward with your life.
Most judges require mediation before you can even move forward with a final trial. Make sure you utilize this opportunity, as well as your time, effectively by being prepared for your mediation.