So, you have either been ordered to mediate by the Judge or you’ve agreed to mediate with your estranged spouse or former significant other. You’ve heard about this process, but know little or nothing. You’ve heard mediation works about 80% of the time. How do you make this process work for you?
The best way to guarantee success at mediation is for you (and your counsel) to come properly prepared. What does that mean? Review the issues that are pending. Do you have the information necessary to resolve the issues? Has that information been shared with opposing counsel and their client? For example, if child support is an issue, have paystubs and tax returns been shared? If time sharing is an issue, have work schedules been shared and have any other relevant information been set forth? If personal property is an issue, have all the account information been obtained and reviewed? Have lists been compiled and proposed division been discussed? Thoughtful preparation is key in organizing the issues to be mediated.
Keep in mind that mediation is no picnic! It is hard work because many of the issues facing families are not easy and compromise can be an elusive thing. Persistence is the next most important aspect to a successful mediation. You should look to mediation as one great opportunity for consensus.
There is great value to agreements made by the very people involved. They are more likely to be followed; it eliminates uncertainty and allows for these agreements to be incorporated into enforceable orders by the court.