Critical Information You Need to Prepare for Your Divorce Mediation Process in NJ
Consciously Preparing for Your Mediated Divorce can Significantly Reduce the Emotional and Financial Impact on You and Your Wallet
It’s just not going to work. You and your spouse have tried seven ways till Sunday and have come to a difficult conclusion: divorce. When considering divorce, many people recall images of courtroom battles and outlandish behavior, but honestly, that is highly uncommon. The majority of couples just want to separate quickly, and peacefully move on with their lives. An excellent way to do just that is through mediation. Mediation allows each person to offer their opinions and strategies for an amicable separation listening to them and offering solutions. A mediator is a trained professional who knows the law well but does not offer individual legal advice.
Preparation is the Key Component in a Divorce Mediation
Studies have shown that people who prepare for their mediation sessions are better at clearly explaining their ideas and have more confidence than those who do not prepare. Typically, clients prefer mediation to litigation and are happier with the results because they have been a part of the decision-making process. It is essential to be prepared because failing to have all the necessary paperwork and an outline of what you feel are the crucial points of discussion could put you in a weak position when discussing what should be done. Sometimes, both spouses come unprepared and spend much of their time and hard-earned money unproductively talking in circles and generalities.
Steps to Prepare for Divorce Mediation in New Jersey
#1 Find a Good Mediator
The first thing you and your spouse need to do is to agree on a mediator and how they will be paid. Often, couples split the cost, but if one cannot, alternative arrangements will be necessary. It would also be wise for each spouse to hire a divorce attorney, as a mediator cannot give legal advice, and legal issues may arise that they would prefer to consult with an attorney.
#2 List Your Priority Topics to Discuss
Secondly, you should create an outline detailing what the most essential points are for you. What are your thoughts on child custody, alimony, and child support? Which aspects of the divorce are of great importance to you, such as the division of assets or heirlooms such as Aunt Delilah’s teat towels and Uncle Redd’s soda can collection? It may sound silly, but folks have argued tooth and nail for less. So put them on the list and add them to the discussion.
#3 Practice Effective Ways to Communicate
Be prepared to use your best communications skills. Your attorney can practice with you and show you how to debate and resolve without too much emotion. Yelling and getting emotional will clog up the works, making progress impossible. Your spouse knows your triggers and how to upset you. Practice neutral responses. A great response to an objection could be,” What I hear you saying is you think it is unfair to see the children every other weekend.” Instead of,” You’re always playing the victim and putting the kids in the middle!” Avoid “why” questions. “Why don’t you listen?” “Why did you cheat on me?” you won’t get any new answers, and your spouse may get so rattled that they leave the session or refuse to cooperate at all. Communicating how you want your future relationship to be is necessary as well. Setting boundaries is healthy and can keep the peace. It is a good idea to enter mediation to keep the discussion almost business-like.
#4 Begin with the End in Mind
Decide what you think would be the best result for you, the dream solution. If you can take a few steps back from that ideal, would you still be content with the outcome? You cannot receive every answer that you would like to, but you can go in prepared to find a middle ground that will bring peace to you both. Consider what is most important to you and emphasize your interest in those points, letting the other parts go.
#5 Commit to the Mediation Process
Lastly, how committed are you to the process? It could take five sessions, two hours a piece, or ten sessions. It depends on the spouses and their willingness to resolve the division of finances, child custody, alimony, etc. Mediation can be less stressful than litigation, but only if each side is willing to do their part.
Fundamental Documents You Can’t Leave Out of Your CheckList
The most straightforward answer is paperwork. By providing as much information to your mediator as possible, they will have the capacity to address your concerns and identify possible sticking points, ultimately providing you and your spouse with a balanced, amicable separation.
Starting with the financial part, you need pay stubs, bank statements, insurance information, marriage certificate, and debts. You will also need tax returns from at least two years back, retirement funds information, employment contracts, and most importantly, a cost-of-living analysis to determine how much is required to keep the family afloat, especially when there will be two homes to manage instead of one.
Real estate holdings should be well documented also. Mortgages, properties you may own jointly or separately (residential, commercial, or investments), vacation homes, rentals, and time-share agreements.
Personal property such as jewelry, antiques, cars, or other items of significant financial value should be included. Living wills, powers of attorney, long-term healthcare, or other directives should be shared.
All insurance, be it medical insurance, life insurance, or auto, should be documented and presented in the mediation. Other valuable documents are pre or post-nuptial agreements and any official legal documents related to domestic violence, such as police reports.
The last but probably most important information you need is about your children. The basics, like their full names and medical information, educational needs (including neurodivergent or physically challenged), an annual calendar, and regular expenses.
Need Assistance to Prepare for Your Divorce Mediation? Contact our NJ Mediation Lawyers
It is incredibly helpful for you to have someone who is on your side as you go through divorce mediation. You need someone you can confide in who can give you sound advice and explain your options clearly. A lawyer can ensure you know what to expect from the mediation process and provide tactics and skills that can be used during the proceedings. It is a good idea to set your goals and objectives and run them by your attorney, who can tell you if something should be added or taken away. A lawyer can also explain how the law works both for mediation and divorce itself and that to settle, you sometimes have to give up something to reach an agreement. When the agreements have been reached, and the mediator is ready to write the Memorandum of Understanding, it is an excellent idea to have your lawyer review the content before it is prepared to be sent to the judge.
The Bronzino Law Firm has a great deal of experience working with their clients and supporting them throughout their divorce mediation. As excellent legal coaches and excel in the areas of communication, this provides our lawyers with the opportunity to help our clients participate in the process with confidence. If you are considering divorce mediation or know someone who is, please contact our local offices in Brick and Sea Girt, NJ at (732) 812-3102 or reach us online. You don’t have to do it alone. Let us give you the support and legal guidance you need during your mediation.