Getting a divorce is challenging, especially if it goes to trial. Trials are usually expensive and time-consuming. Things can take a turn for the worse if children are involved. You may have had a falling out with your spouse, that doesn’t mean your children should also suffer.
Fortunately, mediation offers an excellent way to get divorced without going to trial. It can help you work out a plan to separate from your spouse without unnecessary drama or expensive legal fees. As one of the leading St. Louis divorce lawyers, we often recommend our clients try mediation first.
However, to make your divorce mediation successful, you need to take a few steps. Here’s how you can prepare for divorce mediation in St. Louis.
1. Find an Experienced Divorce Mediation Lawyer
Even though mediation is an amicable way to get a divorce, hiring a mediation attorney is still a good idea. Your lawyer will help you understand your legal rights. They will make sure you don’t give up more than you should. Your attorney will also desist you from being unnecessarily aggressive, which can end your mediation immediately.
But most importantly, the attorney can help you draft a divorce or separation agreement. As the court will review this agreement, it is necessary to make it reasonable and transparent. The attorney will also ensure no critical points are missing from this agreement, facilitating your mediation process.
Make sure to choose a suitable attorney. You can find several divorce mediation lawyers in St. Louis. So, make sure to select someone with relevant experience and excellent communication skills. You can shortlist a few attorneys and compare them before making the final decision.
2. Avoid Emotional Outbursts
Divorce mediation is about clear and proactive communication. However, when a divorcing couple comes face to face, things are likely to escalate as emotions are already running high. You may want to blame your spouse for ruining your marriage and even hurting your kids. However, the mediation room is not the place to do so. When you start blaming your spouse, communication becomes next to impossible.
Being one of the experienced St. Louis divorce lawyers, we often advise our clients to consider their emotional triggers before entering mediation. Think about the potential emotional triggers that can harm your mediation process. Make a conscious decision to react calmly should you encounter such a trigger.
3. Gather Your Financial Information
During divorce mediation, both you and your soon-to-be-ex will need to share financial information. Chances are, your mediator will provide you with forms with a list of the financial documents you need to submit. You will need to share the details of your income, debts, and assets.
Make sure not to hide any of your financial information during mediation. Hiding income or assets will not only result in distrust but may also go against you in court. It will delay your divorce. So, be sure to share the details of your bank accounts, real estate, other property, retirement accounts, credit cards, vehicles, insurance, stocks, and annuities, among others.
4. Focus on Your Children’s Well-Being
You may want to complete your divorce quickly. However, the well-being of your children matters more than anything else. Fortunately, mediation can help ensure a better future as co-parents. You and your ex can work out a parenting schedule, decide where the kids will stay, and their overall upbringing without getting the court involved.
Try to be reasonable when resolving children-related issues. You will need to work with your soon-to-be-ex to create a parenting plan that benefits everyone. Remember, your spouse has as much right to be involved in your children’s lives as you do.
While your St. Louis divorce lawyers can help in legal matters, they often can’t offer emotional support. You can consult a therapist during your mediation to make good decisions related to your kids, without getting your emotions in the way.
5. Make Sure to Set Your Priorities
Your divorce mediation lawyers will want you to be thoroughly prepared for the meditation process. As it involves negotiations, you need to get your priorities sorted. You will need to make a list of what you want and what you can give up.
Making this list is often easier said than done. It is difficult to determine what is most important to you, especially if you have children. In this case, it is better to keep your financial decisions separate from your parenting-related goals. It’s never a good idea to trade child custody in exchange for some assets or money.
Talk to your St. Louis divorce lawyers to figure out your current and post-divorce financial situation. It will help you decide what financial sacrifices you can make during mediation. As this is a negotiation, the other party should also be doing the same.
Divorce is not easy. However, mediation does offer a less expensive and more productive way to legally separate from your spouse. It can really help when children are involved. But, you need to be adequately prepared for a successful mediation. Hopefully, these five tips will hit the ground running for you if you are thinking about divorce mediation.
Talk to the Best St. Louis Divorce Lawyers Today!
As one of the leading and trusted divorce mediation lawyers in St. Louis, Jennifer Rench can help you navigate the mediation process successfully. Call (314) 725-4000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.