If you plan to file for divorce, one of the last things you might be expecting from the process is cooperation. After all, divorcing spouses are often angry and hurt, and they do not see eye-to-eye on all the issues that demand resolution.
However, most people will resolve at least some divorce-related matters in mediation. If mediation is likely in your future, consider the following suggestions for navigating the process more easily.
Recognize the benefits
You may have expected to go to court for your divorce; you might have even hoped for it. However, this alternative to litigation has numerous benefits, including being less costly and faster.
Mediation can also make it easier to part ways amicably because it requires parties to work together. When people do this, they retain control over the outcome and often reach more satisfactory solutions that reflect their specific situation. Further, it avoids pitting spouses against each other.
Know what to expect
When you know what to expect from mediation, you can better prepare for the process and avoid unpleasant surprises. Generally, the process will consist of:
- Choosing a mediator
- Establishing ground rules for the sessions
- Having each party share their story
- Identifying matters to resolve
- Proposing resolutions
- Reaching agreements
For more detailed information on this process, you can read this article from the Michigan Supreme Court.
Note that the mediator is there to help facilitate conversations and may offer solutions. However, he or she will not act as a lawyer or provide legal advice. For these areas, parties will want to have their own attorney.
Keeping emotions in check
Divorce is emotional, but it is essential not to let your emotions take precedence over your best interests. Too often, people hurt their case, their families and their future by lashing out at an ex or making false allegations.
And refusing to consider reasonable requests because you are angry can ultimately land your case in court, where you could receive a much less satisfactory outcome than you would have received in mediation.
Keep your eye on the future
Divorce is a complicated process, but it will come to an end. When you keep this in perspective and remember that there is a future waiting for you, it can be easier to navigate mediation in a way that sets you up for success in the next chapter.