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5 Tips for Successfully Mediating Your Divorce Settlement
So you and your spouse have decided to divorce. In many cases, especially when couples have been together for an extended period of time, it is necessary to discuss and settle upon the details of the divorce. As with so many legal battles, it is often easier and more productive to go through a divorce mediation session rather than allow the courts to make your final decision for you.
While divorce mediation is often best the process isn’t necessarily easy to go through. You and the other party in the case know a lot of personal information about each other and just because you come up with an amicable settlement does not mean your relationship will improve. Below are five tips which, if followed, will contribute to a smooth divorce mediation process.
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Divorce Mediation Tip #1: Be Polite
Yelling, screaming, and posturing during the divorce mediation process will not enable either of you to get what you want from the other. Don’t be surprised if your lawyer doesn’t yell at your spouse’s lawyer either. The more cordial and professional you are the more likely you will be to get the best settlement possible.
Divorce Mediation Tip #2: Full Disclosure
During the divorce mediation proceedings the lawyers for both parties will request certain pieces of information about your finances. There’s no reason to hide your financial information from the other party and – as a matter of fact – refusing to disclose your finances only makes you look guilty of hiding something. You’re more likely to be offered a better settlement if you are upfront and honest about your finances from the start – even offering your information before it is asked for.
Divorce Mediation Tip #3: Avoid Backwards Negotiating
Backwards negotiation occurs when you make a proposal, it is rejected by the other party, and you make changes that attempt to punish the other party for rejecting your first offer. When you are negotiating a proposal you have to be willing to give and take. Subsequent proposals should be closer to what the other party has asked for without pulling the rug out from any other offers. If you receive a backwards negotiation you should refuse to negotiate further until the original offer is put back on the table.
Divorce Mediation Tip #4: Don’t Refuse Negotiations
Except for the case noted above, you should never refuse to negotiate your divorce settlement. Some couples believe that negotiation is impossible but often times they find that after a negotiation session their needs and wishes are not as different as they originally thought. You’ll never be able to close the gap between your positions unless you try to understand them.
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Divorce Mediation Tip #5: Prepare an Opening Proposal
Go into your divorce mediation session with an opening proposal in mind. This proposal should, of course, have room for negotiation because this is probably the first time you will sit down to discuss your concerns regarding the divorce settlement. You also need to be prepared to allow your divorce to go to litigation as, unfortunately, not all cases can be settled during mediation.
The divorce mediation process was put in place to allow couples the ability to calmly and rationally come up with the terms of their divorce on their own. There’s no reason why a stranger should have to get involved unless, of course, you absolutely just can’t get along. In the end, you’ll be happier with your own settlement proposals than you will be with a judge’s.