So you’ve chosen a mediator to work with you and your spouse on your divorce. Where do you go from here?
You can start with what to bring to the first session of the mediation. Most mediators will have a list of all of the documents you’ll need. There is usually also an intake form that asks about each of you, the children, and other information about the marriage.
In mediation, each party usually has a set agenda, even though their aim is to work together in unison. Perhaps one party is more concerned about the financial aspect while the other party is focused on the children, or even how other relatives will look at the divorce. It’s ok that everyone has their own opinion on how the divorce should turn out — but you and your spouse are the decision makers.
The role of the mediator is to know how to direct and move the clients in the right direction. You can also expect your mediator to explain things to you in a way that you will understand. Mediators have always been educators, and that is more true than ever today as everyone’s lives seem to get more complex every day. We help the exhausted and the overwhelmed understand the issues at hand — and we help protect them from making hasty decisions that will affect them for years to come.
I was recently speaking with a client who said something that struck me. “We’ve never exactly been divorced before...so we have no clue what should be done.”
I used an analogy that I often retell to explain my role as a mediator. “Think of rafting on a river. One party and their professionals are on one side of the raft, and the other party and their professionals are on the other side. If both are fighting with the oars against each other and no one is steering the rudder, sooner or later they will hit some rapids and crash into the rocks and possibly overturn. My job is to stay in the middle and keep my hands steady on the rudder, keeping you in smooth water and away from the rocks and rapids. If we must go through rapids, my job is to make sure each party knows what they have to do to keep everyone safe and keep us from overturning.”
Once parties understand my job — the steward of the divorce — they are ready to get to work and move along. For more information about how I can be of assistance to you, call 1.888.U2AGREE or click here.