How to Make the Most of Your Divorce Mediation

How to Make the Most of Your Divorce MediationSome couples choose to pursue divorce mediation in hopes to avoid a long and pricey legal battle. In Tennessee, however, you’re required to go through mediation as part of the divorce process.  As such, you may be curious about what to expect and how you can make the most of the process.

This is expected, as you likely want to do your best to come to an agreement quickly. Mediation, if you let it, can be incredibly helpful. So today, we want to talk a bit about what you should expect, and how you can make the process work best for you.

What should I expect when going through divorce mediation in Franklin, TN?

Divorce mediation is about helping folks reach agreement about the division of their property and assets, child custody, alimony, and more. This process requires a lot of communication and discussion, which both parties must be open to. If they are not able to effectively communicate and develop agreements regarding their belongings, children, or their future, the divorce mediation process will most likely be unsuccessful.

So, you should expect a lot of back-and-forth. You should also expect the mediator to be focused on finding a resolution that works for both parties; unlike your lawyer, the mediator is neutral. They’re not concerned with helping you or your ex “win.” Their job is to help the process move forward.

We also caution you about assuming you’ll only need one mediation session. For some couples, multiple sessions may be required, and that’s okay: Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

Finally, expect that even a successful mediation may not lead to a concrete agreement on everything. For example, if you and your spouse can reach an agreement on who keeps the dog and who keeps the primary residence, and how you’ll share custody, and what kind of spousal support you’ll pay/receive, but you just can’t come to an agreement about the family business or rental properties, you don’t have to throw away all the good work you’ve done. You can still keep all your plans in place while you wait for the judge to render a decision about the rest of it.

Six tips on how to make the most of your divorce mediation

When couples learn that they’ll be required to go through mediation to get divorced in Tennessee, they have two options: they can kick up a fuss and still have to go through mediation, or they can do their best to make the most of the process. We unequivocally recommend Option B, and we have a few tips that we think can help you get in the right mindset:

  1. Make sure that you are aware of everything you and your spouse own: One of the biggest priorities for most couples going through divorce mediation is dividing assets and debts. Therefore, it is a good idea to make sure that you are aware of everything that you and your spouse own together. You should create a list of all your vacation and residential properties, bank or saving accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, collectibles, and more. You will also need to include any debts that you both have, such as credit cards, medical bills, college loans, and more. We also recommend that you have a financial expert review those assets and debts to come up with a true value. We have professionals we trust who can help with this, and we have decades of experience doing it ourselves.
  2. Know and understand your goals: Next, it is beneficial to have clear goals in mind when going through mediation. This means that you have an idea of what you hope to achieve during this process and how flexible you are willing to be when it comes to certain things. You should share these goals with us because it can save you time and money. If you’d rather litigate for years than give up the vacation home, but that you don’t care what happens to the art collection, then that’s something we should know.
  3. Think about your financial needs after the divorce: Child support is determined by the guidelines, but spousal support can be worked out between two people. If you and your spouse can come to an agreement about alimony during mediation, all the better. We think your best chance at resolving this issue is to have a realistic outlook about your expenses and needs. Do your research on the cost of rent, utilities, health insurance, car insurance, groceries, and other general expenses.
  4. Be prepared to compromise and have an open mind: When going through the mediation process, you may have an exact idea of what you want. However, it is very important that you are ready to compromise, and have an open mind. We’ll fight for everything you want, but a willingness to meet your soon-to-be-ex halfway can go a long way in making the process smoother and easier. Plus, the mediator may identify solutions that you and your spouse didn’t see because you dug your heels in.
  5. Try to keep your emotions in check: Going through a divorce can cause several different emotions to emerge. For example, you may be sad, lost, confused, and angry. This is natural as you are likely mourning your marriage. But we can say from experience that folks who let their emotions get in the way tend to lash out, and that can derail the entire mediation. If you want to avoid this, you should do your best to remain cordial and let your lawyer know if you need a break at any time to get your emotions back together.
  6. Hire an attorney who has experience with divorce mediation: Remember that the mediator doesn’t take sides. Mediators aren’t there to help you, personally, get the best possible outcome; that’s our job. Hiring an experienced Franklin divorce lawyer to represent your interests is important because if you don’t have an attorney, you could end up with a bad deal at the end of the mediation. 

Divorce mediation can help you develop an agreement, avoid as much conflict as possible, save money on legal fees, and ultimately resolve the outstanding issues in your divorce. But you still deserve an advocate, and you’ll want the guidance of a Franklin divorce lawyer who can answer your questions and help you navigate the entire process. At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we take these cases seriously and will do everything we can to help you make the most of your divorce mediation. Call our office or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation today. We have office locations in Brentwood, Columbia, and Franklin for your convenience.