Reaching the settlement agreement you want
Mediation offers an effective alternative to divorce litigation. This conflict resolution method can save you time and money and empower you to determine the ultimate terms of your divorce. Here are some tips to achieve the results you want out of your mediation session.
Know what you must have and what you can compromise
A primary tenet of mediation is compromise, but some issues are nonnegotiable. For example, as the primary caregiver, you are unlikely to concede custody to your spouse. Also, certain marital property may hold extensive financial or sentimental value to you — such as artwork acquired on a memorable family vacation or a rare book collection. Create a written list of the terms you must win to agree to a divorce settlement. Recognize, however, that you must also be willing to compromise on other issues for the mediation to succeed. The flat screen TV and the hot tub are replaceable, for example, and can be used in negotiations if your spouse also wants these items.
Stay focused on your goals
Without a clear plan of action, you can lose sight of your objectives and become distracted by peripheral issues. Focus on achieving your ideal divorce settlement, but know at which point you are willing to walk away from negotiations. You are likely to obtain something in between your ideal and minimum settlement goals. Although your ideal settlement may contain more than you deserve, be reasonable. For example, you may not have the right to the marital home outright without buying your spouse’s portion of the equity or conceding other valuable property in return. One good way to gauge the likelihood of reaching your goals is to anticipate what a judge would order at trial.