Month: January 2016

Five Tips- Preparing for Mediation

Once you begin the divorce proceedings a few options and requirements will happen. Mediation is a requirement to most divorce cases in Utah as a way to have a smooth transition into living and functioning in two homes.

There are 2 main goals in Mediation. The first main goal in mediation is to find a workable solution to fit the needs of your family and lifestyle. Another goal is to find these solutions in an inexpensive and less invasive solution. Mediation is a primary preference over court imposed solutions.

Here are five tips to help you in the process of preparing for mediation.

  1. Be Ready to Agree- Solution Based Thinking

One of the most important aspect of handling the divorce effectively and timely is to be agreeable. This agreement to mediate will hold strong favor with the court and with the opposing party. By showing a willingness to mediate you show a good faith effort to put all the issues on the table and get things hammered out.

This does not mean that you and your spouse have to be friends in order to get through the mediation with a successful outcome. It simply means that you are both ready to sit down and have serious and meaningful conversations in an effort to move forward.

  1. Proposed Solutions Homework

Make a list of all the issues you feel need to be addressed. Make your list include possible solutions. Try to find two solutions to each issue. Be as detailed as possible. Remember these are proposed solutions.

After you make your list prioritize the most important things and decide whether you are willing to compromise on those issues. If not write down why and cite specific examples to support your claim.

Create a completed list of ALL your physical items that will be addressed. This can be done in a checklist form. When you attend mediation present this to the mediator or your attorney as the master list of all of the property, debts, assets and accounts that need to be assigned and designated.

This can include all houses, rental property, businesses, personal property, furniture, jewelry, artwork, furnishings, vehicles, boats, motorcycles, ATV’s, bank accounts, security safe deposit boxes, investments, life insurance, credit cards, retirement accounts. An accounting or inventory of everything you have acquired and possessed before the marriage.

You will need all income as well as any disbursements for disability, pensions, child support, business profit and loss statements or inheritance. Expenses need to be listed as well with all payment amounts and dates. This can include all monthly payments you make for insurance, living expenses, groceries, gas, vehicle payments and any other things you are paying off.

In Utah you are required to provide a financial declaration that will include all of this information. Therefore, by preparing this you will be ready to submit the declaration to your attorney and court.

Make sure that all information is accurate including payoff amounts.

3.Make Realistic Goals

Now that you have your lists you have to set some realistic goals to help guide you toward success.  Many people find that this step can be the most difficult. The process of setting some goals may take some time. Make sure to set aside a few hours to make some decision with a clear mind that is uninterrupted.

At this point you will need to figure out the range of acceptable negotiations. Make a list for each item addressing where you are willing to negotiate to. This can be very difficult. For example:

Issue: Visit exchanges

Preferred: Friday at 7 pm

Acceptable Terms:

1) Exchange after school at 3pm with pickup at the school

2) Exchange no later than 8:30 curbside

The purpose of creating these goals is so that you feel like you have already began to ponder possible solutions that are reasonable and well thought out. The more prepared you are to negotiate the better you will feel with the outcome. You will also know what you are willing to settle on and what you are not willing to live without.

Finally make a realistic budgeting goal. Take a very close look at where you will be in a month and make some goals to adjust you spending. It is very important to understand where you are financially.

  1. Consider the Impact on Children

If child care, child support and visitation are being discussed remember that these this are a different category and should not be used as a bargaining chip. Sometimes parents are clouded in their need to win and they use the children as pawns in mediation and divorce.

The goal of the court is to make sure that both parents have an active role in their child’s life. Provide reasonable requests that fit the needs of your family, the work schedules of both parents and the schedule and age of the children.

Make sure to review the state statutes on visitation and be familiar with the requirements.

Communication with your children and answering their question may help you understand what you need to work out in mediation.

Children respond better when parents present a united front and when decision are presented in a confident and clear manner. After the agreements are made the parents need to respond to the children with clear facts and without blaming the other parent. Children do not need to be burdened with things they cannot control. Adult conversations and decision making sessions need to be kept between the adults and not divulged unnecessarily. Children need to hear that they will continue to receive love and support from both parents equally.

An important reminder is that even though you are divorcing your spouse you are still required to co-parent. Children all react and will grieve differently. The best you can do is to provide consistency and stability with a positive and loving environments. Communicate together with the children when possible about routines and living arrangement changes. This promotes healthy relationships.

Keep the comments about the spouse to a minimum. Remember that children are part of your spouse and they will feel like you are also unhappy with portions of themselves. It is imperative that all conversations about your spouse are positive and with forward thinking. Children will take your lead and the confusion and blaming will dissipate when the environment is positive and welcoming.

Appoint one parent to be the decision making parent. At times of high stress one parent needs to be ultimately the decision maker. While they are still young they will grow into young adults with complex issues. By agreeing from the beginning to be effective communicative co-parents you will save yourself and your children from a lot of heartache and disappointment.

Utah requires a divorce education class. Check with your Ogden Divorce Lawyer for information on attendance.

  1. Find A Mediator That Makes Sense

Mediators like attorneys need to be a good fit for the family. If you have a high- conflict divorce you may need a specialized mediator

There are many options for mediators and your Divorce Lawyer in Ogden. Do your homework on each one. See what their success rate is. See what their website says and even the reviews online. Ask around to your friends and family and see if they have any recommendations.

When you present the list to your attorney see if they have a mediator that they like to use. Search out cost options and make a pro and con list.

Sometimes getting a better mediator at a higher cost with good reviews is worth it because you could mediate for a shorter amount of time then using a less experienced mediator that will use up more time with a less favorable outcome.

Feel free to interview your Ogden Divorce Attorney for a professional review of each mediator before agreeing to one. The more you research the better off you will be and the more confident you will be going into the mediation.

Here are a few things to ask:

  • When did you complete your mediation course and how long was your training?
  • What certification do you hold and in what areas are you certified?
  • Where did you get your certifications and do you have certifications available?
  • Have you participated in co-mediation courses?
  • What kind of mediations have you performed and what is your success rate?

These five tips will help you in preparing for your mediation appointment. By preparing your evidence, information and intentions you will be more clear on your demands and able to negotiate a settlement that will endure the divorce process and put in place a workable solution for you and your children. Remember that all you can do is prepare to prevent so that you can avoid repair and regret.