23 Feb Divorce Mediation: What You Need to Bring to the Table
Mediation. This is what you want. Take it from this happy mother of three. During your divorce, keeping your life, your children, assets and future in your hands and out of the court’s is the best thing you can do for everyone. The moment you lawyer up and go to war with your ex, you’ll incur unnecessary hardship and expense.
How Mediation in Divorce Cases Works
This is how it works: You and your divorcing spouse work with a neutral third party who knows the law. This is your mediator. Mediators know what can and would be awarded to either party if the case were to go to court. Your mediator’s task however, is to spare you both that eventuality. Mediators are family advocates – they don’t represent or counsel you or your spouse independently. Mediators work with you both equally to reach a decision that is best for your family.
Lauren Berkich is an attorney who specializes in family law. While Lauren often litigates cases in court, she admires when two parties can come together and participate in a mediation with her assistance. In mediation, she seeks the most reasonable arrangements for custody, finances and assets at the dissolution of marriage. As a mediator, Lauren will direct traffic and guide the process rather than directly advising either party. Lauren is there to help avoid head-on collisions and untangle any issues that would hinder the dialogue. She will concisely explain to both parties what the laws are and what decisions would likely be reached if they didn’t resolve issues themselves.
What to Bring to the Divorce Mediation Table
As the title of this piece suggests, there are things you need to show up to the table with if you want the process to be a success.
- The first of which is not easy to come by in such times: an open mind and a level head. Negotiations will disintegrate rapidly in the absence of self-control and fair mindedness. The most talented attorney in the world will not be able to salvage the mediation if vindictiveness and vitriol win the day.
- The second thing you’re going to need is resolve. Basically, you want to be resolute about resolution – comfortable with yielding and compromise. You want to be confident and flexible about what you need and what you can live without. Believe me, mediation is a position of power and privilege. The moment you go to court, someone you just met will decide aspects of your life, and that decision will be confined by the law, which may not be the right choice for your family. This is the scenario you both want to avoid because once you cede control of decisions about your children, your assets, pets and property, both parties are at the disadvantage.
- You also want to practice excellent self-care. You’re likely stressed, sad and possibly angry. Your grandmother would tell you to take a lap around the block and I’ll tell you the same thing – but more like 15 laps. Exercise, eat well, sleep and avoid the liquid depressants that seem to beckon at times like this. When you’re taking care of yourself, you’ll perform more cooperatively and with dignity.
Last, remember that Lauren Berkich is there to help your family come out of this with the most equitable and sustainable arrangement possible. It’s not easy at all. However, if you have kids like I do, the fact that you can come together to make decisions jointly at this most difficult hour sets the stage for successful co-parenting in the years to come. Embrace this opportunity and prepare yourself. Brighter days are ahead and they’ll come far more quickly following a successful mediation.