Are you prepared to mediate your case?

— Charlotte, NC: Some people think that divorce mediation is pretty easy. You show up, you ask for what you want, and if it doesn’t work out just go to court. That’s certainly one way of looking at it. If the financial and emotional cost of divorce wasn’t so high, that might even be an acceptable way to look at it.

Another way to approach mediation it is to compare it to special events with in-laws, like a wedding. Sometimes, when you’re getting a large group of people together, your spouse may not know everyone they will meet. If you’re smart and want to maintain a successful marriage, you will prep your spouse about the quirks your particular family members might have. You will suggest to your spouse what they should and should not say, and you will suggest what topics to avoid. At the end of the day, hopefully you’ve had a successful and peaceful family interaction.

Divorce mediation should be approached in the same way. You should talk to your attorney beforehand about the range of options you have in trying to settle your case. You should figure out how much talking you will do vs. how much talking your attorney will do. You should ask who made the last proposal and how reasonable it is. If you’re not sure what to expect, you should ask your attorney to give you a run-down prior to the mediation. Failure to have this conversation in advance may lead to even more conflict coming out of a failed mediation.

Are you prepared? If not, is your attorney willing to have the conversation? It’s probably a good time to find out. For more information about the mediation process, feel free to contact me.