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How to Prepare for Divorce Mediation

by Kristen Hilty

“I’ll get my day in court!” We’ve all heard someone say this. Guess what…You really don’t want your day in court!

Here’s why:

Expensive Legal Fees

The longer you drag out the process (and it will be long based on how backed up the court system is), you will both spend unnecessary tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees. Wouldn’t you rather use that money for…hmmm…ANYTHING ELSE??

Time in “Limbo”

Divorce is beyond painful. As long as you are in the process of divorce, it will be impossible for you to begin the process of healing and moving on with your life. Ask yourself how much time you really want to spend in this “limbo” state.

A Stranger Deciding the Future of your Family

The stranger in the black robe that has never met you, your spouse, or your children will be deciding your future and more importantly your children’s futures! To make it worse, they’re basing these decisions based on a fraction of information they’ve been given about your life…and then a fraction of THAT is what they’ll actually consider relevant. Frightening!

The Mediation Option

In my state (North Carolina) you will be required to attend mediation before any child custody and equitable distribution trial. For the reasons stated above, embrace the idea of you and your spouse coming up with solutions for your future that will work for both of you. Not only do you get to consider every aspect of your life, but when you come up with an agreement together, you’re both more likely to stick to it. Remember that formalizing an agreement is one thing…enforcing it is a whole other thing! This is your only shot at avoiding that stranger dictating your future, so put yourself in a position to succeed by having an open mind and considering creative options you may not have thought of. Drop your ego in the parking lot and think only of your family and your future.

Preparing for Mediation

Trust your attorney!

Your attorney is at your side for any legal advice, as the mediator will not be permitted to give you that advice. Believe it or not, your attorney really does want to keep you out of court. Your attorney has seen the devastation the court system can cause a family. When they speak to you…LISTEN!

Include a CDFA® on your team!

The attorneys I have worked with are grateful to enter mediation with the financial information to back-up the case. When you have property, investment accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, etc., it’s important to realize how you split things today could have significant consequences on your future, your spouse’s future, and most importantly, your children’s future! It’s pretty much impossible to determine the proper amount of spousal support without analysis. Accuracy can save you tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in mistakes. Leave that mediation knowing you made informed financial decisions and with a clear vision of your financial future.

A mediator can’t give legal advice, a CDFA® can’t give legal advice, and an attorney and/or mediator can’t give financial advice. Every professional plays an important role in your future.

If you’re facing an upcoming mediation give Better Divorce Solutions a call! Like we always say, you only have one chance to get this right!

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