The vast majority of court cases are settled before they ever get to a final hearing, and divorce is no exception. Settling divorces before a final hearing has some significant advantages, not least of which is that it will probably reduce your costs, as you will not have to pay your attorney to prepare for and attend a final hearing. More importantly, settling your case before you reach a final hearing allows you to maintain a degree of control over your situation. A settlement means you and your spouse can custom-make a property agreement and parenting plan that best fits your family. It is important that you know how to best prepare for mediation in order to put yourself in the best possible position to achieve a settlement.
First, you will want to think about your priorities. Do you have a particular piece of property that you want to make sure you are awarded? Are you set on making sure the children spend the week with you to make sure they have a stable home on school nights? Perhaps you want to make sure you are warded enough spousal support to help you get a new degree and raise your earning capacity. Whatever you goals, make sure you go into mediation with a clear picture of what you want to achieve and what is most important to you.
Second, you need to make sure to bring the correct documents and have the right information. Income documents are essential where you will need to calculate child support, as well as health insurance costs and any daycare costs. Documentation showing the value of any important assets, such as real estate or art work, is also important to make sure any property division agreement is accurate and fair.
Finally, do your best as you prepare and think about the issues to focus on the issues and not on your anger or resentment toward the other party. The more you focus on how angry you are at your spouse, the less likely it is that you will be able to come to a resolution. Approaching the mediation like a business transaction will make it more probable that you can focus on the issues and reach a settlement.
We have experience in helping our clients with mediation and divorce hearings. If you have questions about settlement or other family law issues, call us today for a consultation.