At Konicek Law, we know what a difficult process our Florida clients go through in the months and years leading up to the final decision of filing for a divorce. However, once the decision to divorce is made, you need a plan on how you will go through the divorce process.
Mediation has been helpful for many of our clients. It has allowed them and their soon to be ex-spouse to come to agreements on things like finances, child rearing, and child custody without needing to spend their hard earned money on court fees and attorney fees. Preparation is a must if the mediation process is to be a smooth one. Here are five tips that you and your spouse can use to prepare for mediation.
Mutually Agree To Mediate
Divorce mediation is voluntary in Florida. It only works if you and your spouse come to the mediation table in good faith. You don’t need to be best friends; however, you and your spouse will need to have a meaningful conversation outlining the pros and cons of mediation. A few of the topics to consider include:
• Discuss alternatives to mediation
• Layout the basic logistics, such as how legal fees will be paid
• Determine who will be responsible for handling court filings
• Select a location and time for mediation sessions
Do Your Research
Before you can determine how to divide assets or debts, you will need to know what you have and who the items belong to. Start by making a master list where you include property, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, and basically everything you own.
Get pay stubs as records of sources of income. If you’re self-employed, you will want a profit and loss statement. Other things like child-support payments, alimony, expenses, liabilities, credit card payments, and student loans should be written down on this master list.
The courts require a financial affidavit during the dissolution process. Our attorneys at Konicek Law can work with you to help you complete your financial affidavit accurately. Withholding information can have negative repercussions for you. We recommend preparing a rough draft first and using this as a road map for the final draft that will be used during mediation.
Have Clear Goals
Now you know what you’ve got. The next step is what do you want to do with it. This can be the hard part as it requires you to identify what’s truly important to you.
During this phase, determine what things you cannot live without, what acceptable terms for mediation are, and what things you absolutely will not accept. Remember, this is a negotiation, so you won’t get everything that you want.
The key to success is separating financial goals and parental goals. Mediation fails when spouses try to use visitation or custody in exchange for financial wants. During this phase, write up a projected budget to get a clearer picture of your future financial situation.
Focus on Your Children
As resilient as children are, a divorce takes a huge toll on them. Take time to communicate with your children to help them understand what is happening. Presenting a united front while answering their questions and at the same time not giving too much information will help children through the process. Help your children see that although your marriage is dissolving, you continue to be their parents. Trained family mediators may offer beneficial advice to divorcing parents.
Do Your Due Diligence
Not everyone who claims to be a mediator has received training as such. Since mediation has not always been viewed in a positive light, there are not many individuals who have the training and the experience to do this job well. Find out if your mediator has completed a basic mediation course, if they’ve received certification, where the certification came from, as well as the number of cases they’ve mediated.
Our family lawyers have experience helping clients through divorce mediation. Contact us today and let us help you make your divorce and mediation as smooth as possible.