More and more divorcing couples are electing to engage in mediation outside of the courthouse in an effort to amicably resolve issues of property division and alimony. This option is often appealing because it can be a faster, more cost effective path to resolving a case. In addition, an amicable resolution can benefit the entire family by avoiding the stress associated with contested litigation. In order to make the most of mediation, the following tips can be helpful:
1) Be prepared.
Before you sit down with the mediator make sure you have done your due diligence. Gather the documentation you may need and organize the information so that you can find it easily during the mediation. As you review your information, consider whether you need advice and from whom. For example, if you have questions about how to handle a tax issue speak with a CPA or tax attorney in advance.
2) Have a game plan.
Consider what you want to and realistically can accomplish during the mediation. For example, at your initial meeting with the mediator the goal may be to identify and value all the marital assets and debts. Whatever your game plan, mediation will be more efficient and effective if you have taken some time to think through what you hope to achieve in advance
As the Rolling Stones have long said, “You can’t always get what you want, But if you try sometimes well you might find, You get what you need.” An agreement often involves give and take by both parties. So, prioritize what is important to you
4) Be flexible.
There is no “one size fits all” solution. Keeping an open mind in mediation can allow for creative solutions that fit your specific situation and allow you to get what you need.
5) Be honest.
Efforts to settle a case, such as discussions during mediation, are confidential and cannot be used as evidence in court. Mediation is, therefore, an opportunity for candid (respectful) discussion of the issues with an eye toward reaching a resolution. If both parties are not open and honest, resolution is more likely to be elusive
Leslie Spoltore focuses her practice on family law, handling all aspects of the Delaware Family Court’s jurisdiction including, divorce, alimony, property distribution, prenuptial agreements, adoption, guardianship, permanent guardianship, child support, child custody, protection from abuse. She works out of the firm’s Wilmington, DE office and can be reached at 302-840-1110 or at Leslie.Spoltore@Obermayer.com