What to Bring to Your Divorce Mediation
You should plan to bring any documents that state your case with regard to the major factors affecting most divorces. These include:
- Finances: You should bring bank statements and documents related to any accounts, assets, and debt you may hold.
- Children: You might want to bring along medical and school records for both children, as well as any documents relating to extracurriculars and special needs requirements.
- Alimony: A list of household income and expenses will be needed to calculate spousal support.
- Other: If you feel that a document or witness will help you get what you most want in your mediation sessions, by all means bring those along. With mediation, it is better to have and not need than to need and not have, particularly if you want a resolution sooner rather than later.
How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?
There is no clear answer to this question, unfortunately. In many cases, divorce can be settled as quickly as a single day. However, this can only happen if both spouses are willing to settle their agreements without issue.
In many divorce mediations, more time may be needed. If a separate bank account is uncovered during the mediation session, for example, more time may be required to research the account and print up the necessary financial documents before the matter can be discussed in front of the mediator.
The most important thing to know is that as long as you and your spouse are willing to cooperate and find a peaceful resolution, your mediated divorce shouldn’t take long at all. You can speed up the time by working with a qualified family attorney. An attorney familiar with mediation can help you devise the necessary strategies for an easier and quicker time at the mediation table.
Divorce Mediation Checklist
Mediation is only an option if you can mark “yes” to all of the items listed below.
Are both spouses on the same page?
Despite the popular trope of quarrelsome divorcing couples, you and your spouse don’t have to be at odds just because you’re splitting up! In fact, for the mediation process to be successful, you and your spouse need to agree to avoid conflict at all costs.
Is the marriage free of domestic violence?
Mediation may involve frequent meetings with your spouse. If there is a history of abuse on either side, mediation is unlikely to work. As a general rule, mediators will avoid taking cases where domestic or other forms of violence exist in the couple’s history. After all, how can the mediator know that matters were agreed upon amicably and not by intimidation? If the mediator finds out that violence has occurred, the court will likely excuse you both from future mediation sessions. If that happens, divorce court may be your only option.
Are both spouses transparent about their finances?
Finances are one of the most complicated aspects of any divorce. You and your spouse must be willing to openly discuss all sensitive information relating to your finances, including documents from your bank listing retirement, pension, and bank accounts. You should be prepared to have all of your finances and assets analyzed, as well as your debt.
Can both spouses cooperate and agree upon child custody/support and alimony/spousal support?
Child matters and those involving alimony can also quickly complicate a divorce. When discussing child custody, visitation, and child support, both spouses must reach a final resolution that’s in the children’s best interests. Coming up with a sensible plan may prove challenging but think of the children and how they will fare moving forward. These discussions should be reasonably pursued and thorough so that a proper recommendation by the mediator can be made. The same goes with alimony and spousal support. The payee may want the amounts increased while the payor may want the amounts decreased. By looking at the finances and both spouses’ income and debt, the mediator can help you both come up with a final amount that everyone can live with.
Does the couple want a faster & easier divorce?
Mediation can take as little as a day and as long as a few weeks. Still, going this route is bound to save you time and money as opposed to divorce court, which can be expensive and last for months or even years.
Do you have a competent mediator in mind?
You will have an easier time divorcing your spouse if you choose a mediator who is firm but fair and experienced at helping clients like you come to a fair resolution. At GYL, we offer the services of experienced divorce mediation attorneys. Each of our family attorneys has worked with clients of all types to resolve disagreements for a final divorce decree that both parties can live with.
How to Get What You Want Out of Your Divorce Mediation
You can improve your chances of obtaining the fairest outcome, and the one you want, by coming to the mediation sessions fully prepared. Hopefully, you and your spouse can work together to hash out the details in advance. If you are able to come up with a pre-set schedule for visitation and calculated amounts for child support and alimony, your mediation sessions should be over quickly, leading to a fast and easy divorce.
To ensure that you are fully prepared for any and every scenario that might play out during your mediation, come up with a variety of options you can live with as they refer to each point of discussion in your mediation session. For example, how much do you require in child support and alimony? What schedules would you be able to abide by as far as child custody and visitation are concerned? The more open you are to various possibilities, the simpler the mediation sessions are likely to go.
Divorce Mediation FAQ
Can you really divorce in a single day?
A prevailing myth says that divorce in California has to take weeks, months, or even years to complete. Who has time for all that? When you decide to divorce your spouse, you want the process done and over with, which can certainly happen with divorce mediation.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation allows you and your spouse to work with a neutral third-party. The mediation specialist will guide you and your spouse to a peaceful resolution. The mediator should be experienced and trained to help couples resolve common divorce issues like alimony, child support, and child custody.
Above all, the mediator will help you and your spouse quickly divorce – sometimes in a single day – without the need for expensive and drawn-out court battles.
What is the role of a mediator in divorce?
A mediator is a trained and experienced third-party who will guide you through the mediation process. A mediator is not a judge. As such, the individual has no power to “rule” over any deciding factors, such as child support and alimony. Rather, acting as a neutral party, the mediator will direct you and your spouse to an amicable resolution with facts and reason, rather than emotion.
What happens in divorce mediation?
The process of mediation begins when you and your spouse decide to use this method instead of opting for divorce court. In California, mediation is voluntary. This means that if your spouse doesn’t want mediation, and instead wishes to go to court, no one can force him or her to comply. Therefore, both you and your spouse need to be on board before the process can begin.
Who sets up the mediation during a divorce?
To be open for mediation, both you and your spouse must be willing to negotiate the proper terms of the divorce. Once both parties agree, the next step is to find a mediator and set up the first meeting. During the mediation sessions, you and your spouse will sit down (with or without your attorney present) to begin discussing the specifics of divorce.
How to Engage in Divorce Mediation with a Narcissist
If you are divorcing a narcissist, you may wonder how mediation will go when your spouse wants to make the situation all about themself. Narcissists lack empathy and have a sense of entitlement, which can make the divorce process extra complicated. Your spouse may not care that you are left with very little, so long as they get the king or queen’s share of your property and assets, for example.
The only way mediation will work when narcissism is added to the mix is if your spouse can listen to reason and suspend their grandiose sense of self long enough to make a resolution happen.
Of course, your spouse’s condition may make mediation impossible and divorce court may be the only option, unfortunately.
On the other hand, you may be able to convince your spouse to play ball by alerting them to how expensive and time-consuming a contentious court case can be. Mediation can be over sooner, allowing you both to move on with your separate lives.
5 Important Reasons to Consider Divorce Mediation
- You will have an easier time divorcing your spouse. Divorcing your spouse doesn’t have to involve back-and-forth court battles between each party’s attorney. With divorce mediation, you can settle matters between your spouse in a safe environment free from arguing and without using your lawyer as a mouthpiece. In a mediation setting, you can speak your mind and state your case, so long as you’re willing to hear the other side in order to come to a fair agreement.
- Divorce mediation can save you time and money. The average divorce can go on for years, with you paying the cost every step of the way. With mediation, you have the possibility of settling your divorce amicably and in a single day. Without the added expense, you can fund a fresh start on the next chapter of your life.
- You can agree upon a peaceful resolution to child support and visitation discussions. Divorce court can be especially difficult for the kids. Mediation allows both spouses to discuss the needs of the children so an arrangement can be made that benefits all parties involved. In divorce court, the Judge presiding over the case always wants to do what’s best for the children. In mediation, it is up to you and your spouse (guided by your mediator) to devise a plan that gives your children the best chance for a healthy life.
- You have the opportunity to speak freely with your spouse in a private and calm atmosphere. The divorce mediation setting is held away from the courtroom. All matters discussed during the divorce will be kept private, so long as the details don’t pertain to public records. You can discuss matters freely with your spouse without the heated emotions or threats so you can both come to an adequate compromise.
- You will be able to settle all important matters more quickly and with less stress. If you are dreading divorce court, avoid it entirely and opt instead for divorce mediation. If you and your spouse can agree on important matters like alimony, child support, child custody, prenuptial agreements, and others that may arise, mediation may be for you.
At GYL, we offer the services of an experienced Carlsbad divorce mediation lawyer serving all of San Diego County. Get your questions answered and make the best decisions for your divorce in 1 day by scheduling a consultation today.
Ready to Start the Mediation Process in North County? Call GYL Today!
Get an attorney with mediation experience to help you resolve your conflicts by calling our legal team at GYL, located in Carlsbad, California. You could be divorced in one day or at least sooner than you suspect. Get your questions answered and make the best decisions for your divorce by scheduling a consultation today.