Common Mistakes Made in Divorce Mediation
New Jersey’s divorce courts put a premium on cooperation. To that end, divorcing couples typically need to attend multiple mediation sessions. Couples can also voluntarily enter into mediation to try and work out their differences so that the divorce will proceed as smoothly as possible. If you are preparing for economic mediation or an intensive settlement conference, make sure to avoid the following mistakes.
You do Not Know What You Want
Mediation involves give and take, but you cannot effectively participate if you do not have some idea of what you want going in. In most cases, you can negotiate the following:
* Child custody and possible visitation
* Child support
* Division of marital debts
* Division of marital assets
* Whether one spouse will pay spousal maintenance (alimony)
If you try to “wing” it in mediation, you might walk out having agreed to something that, on further reflection, you do not really want. To prepare, spend some time thinking about the above issues. Considerations include:
* Do you want the family house? If so, can you afford the mortgage or will you need your ex to help contribute?
* Which assets will appreciate in value faster?
* Do you want primary physical custody or visitation? Do you intend to move? Remember not to come up with a visitation schedule you can not stick to.
* Do you need more education or work experience so that you can support yourself after divorce? If so, how much do you need?
* Do you know how much it costs to maintain a separate household?
These are some preliminary questions you should begin asking yourself. To fully identify what you hope to get out of your divorce, you should consult with a divorce lawyer who can help you analyze other considerations.
You are Inflexible
For mediation, you need to be open to potential compromise. If you insist on getting your way on every issue, then mediation will fail and everyone’s time will have been wasted. You also might come out of mediation angrier than you went in, which does not bode well for the divorce.
One way of maintaining flexibility is to focus on the future. Do not make mediation about the betrayals and disappointments of your marriage. Those are in the past and can not be undone. Instead, look at how the divorce can help you achieve the future you want. For example, if you want to return to college, consider asking for rehabilitative alimony. In exchange, you might let your spouse keep all of his or her retirement account.
You can also improve flexibility by realizing that children are not property. They need to maintain ties to both parents, and a judge will not let you use them to “get back” at your spouse. Focus on what is in their best interest.
You are a Pushover
Just as it is a mistake to be too inflexible, it is equally dangerous to agree to something just to hurry along the divorce process. You must advocate for the future well-being of yourself and your children. For example, if your ex has been abusive to your children, you need to protect them and should consider asking for sole custody.
Speak with a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer
Countless couples have used mediation to successfully resolve divorce disputes, and mediation may work for you. Elena K. Weitz has helped many men and women obtain divorces that successfully set them up to thrive in the future. Contact her today for a consultation.