An increasing number of divorcing couples are turning to mediation as a less acrimonious way of terminating their marital bond. Mediation comes with several advantages, with some of them being lowered costs and alleviated emotional stress.
To truly leverage these advantages, however, you need to work with experienced St. Louis Divorce Mediation attorneys as they will know exactly how to help you throughout the mediation process.
Mediation is believed to work much faster than the divorce process as all the parties (the decision-makers) are present at the same place at the same time, while they communicate with each other. Their lawyers may also be present during the mediation process.
If you’re planning to opt for divorce mediation, here are a few checklist items that you should consider to ensure minimal hassles during the process.
Hire a Local Divorce Mediator
It’s no secret that different divorce mediation laws apply in every jurisdiction. It is, therefore, important to hire a local divorce mediator as a mediator from a different state or even county will not know which legal regulations apply in your area of residence. Further, they will not be easily accessible, which will only increase your stress. So, you should hire a divorce mediator that works from a proper local office around your neighborhood.
It will also help to work with a seasoned divorce mediation attorney. While their services will cost you more, it will be worth the price. Visit their website and check their customer testimonials. Go through their online reviews on third-party legal websites, if possible. Only an experienced divorce mediator will have worked within a professional network and be connected to other experts in the legal arena to bring you the most favorable outcomes.
Find Common Ground with Your Spouse
More often than not, separating couples are able to agree on certain aspects before the commencement of their divorce mediation. You and your spouse should discuss issues such as who gets to keep the house and what the child custody plan will look like, and try to find areas that you both agree on. This is important as the more you both can agree on beforehand, the faster and less expensive the mediation process is likely to be.
Organize Your Financial Information
Division of marital assets and debts is among the most common issues in divorce mediation. It helps to have a comprehensive list of your assets and debts ready, so you can start establishing the value of each. You will need to gather and organize your financial documents (as applicable) before the mediation. These may include:
- Monthly/annual financial documents
- Records of tax returns and supporting documents
- Bank account statements
- Investment statements
- Retirement account statements
- Social security estimate statements
- Mortgage statement
- Credit card statements
- Income statements
- The most recent statements for outstanding loans
- Life Insurance policy and/or annuities statements
- The most recent statements for Employee Stock Options, Employee Stock Purchase Plan, and/or Restricted Stock accounts
- Full profit and loss accounts for current/prior year if any businesses owned
- Insurance policies for all automobiles
- You will have to bring these documents along to each appointment.
Don’t Forget About Your Kids
Children’s custody is also a common matter of contention in most contested divorce cases. Sometimes, divorcing parents forget that when they go all out to “win” their divorce, their children get affected the most.
It is important to never lose sight of your children’s wellbeing and always put their best interest before everything else, even if this means compromising a tad on the custody schedule.
Anger and resentment almost always feature in difficult divorces. It is crucial that you prioritize your children and not approach the custody negotiations with a negative mindset. Remember, at the end of the day, you will be happy only if your children are well looked after. An experienced St. Louis Divorce Mediation attorney can be your best bet in such a case.
As you move ahead with your divorce mediation, you will need to be flexible with setting the child custody schedule. There may be times when the schedule will have to be revised, upon your or your spouse’s request. Keep an open mind about it and make decisions that minimize your children’s suffering.
Study the Separation Agreement Thoroughly
Divorce is rarely easy and leaves most people overwhelmed and emotionally drained. However, it is important to not lose sight of the future as you undergo the mediation sessions. While you may not remember every detail from every session, it is crucial that you review all paperwork with hawk-eyed scrutiny.
Every bit of information mentioned in the documents should directly reflect your agreements as listed in the Memorandum of Understanding (separation agreement). Ascertain everything before signing the dotted line because once that’s done, making changes will be difficult. Make sure that every expectation from you within the agreement is well within your capacity to fulfill it.
One of the main reasons couples in Missouri choose divorce mediation over a traditional divorce is so they can arrive at reasonable and mutually-agreeable decisions. Moreover, mediation is comparatively less expensive and quicker than contested litigation. To make the most of this option, it is always recommended to work with an experienced St. Louis Divorce Mediation attorney. Doing so can help you prepare well for a successful mediation that brings you desirable results.
Consult Our Judicious St. Louis Divorce Mediation Attorneys Today
If you are serious about hiring reliable divorce mediation services and receive guidance that enables you to walk through your divorce peacefully and with your head held high, we’re here to help. With our team of experienced St. Louis Divorce Mediation attorneys in your corner, you can look forward to positive outcomes and a well-thought-out settlement agreement that prioritizes your children. Call our compassionate team of attorneys on (314) 725-4000. You can also contact us online to know how we can help you.