Getting divorced is trying. Regardless of the reasons, it is hard on you, hard on your children and can even be hard on other family members and friends. A divorce mediator can make the entire process easier, as well as saving on court costs and reducing stress. It is becoming a more popular option, especially for uncontested (no fault) divorces, and more and more couples are turning to mediation to reduce anger and make the separation easier on everyone. Choosing a divorce mediator can, however, be a challenging process. Here are five good questions you should ask your divorce mediator or divorce attorney in order to make sure that you are getting the help you need.
How do you make a divorce fair?
Of course, you and your ex might have different views on what is fair – but that, in many ways, is where a divorce mediator comes in. Ask how the mediator or divorce attorney avoids becoming caught up in the emotions of the family. Talk to them about how they pull together the information needed to make better decisions and guide you to a proper resolution of all the issues involved. Make sure that the mediator you choose has a solid idea of what is fair and can genuinely stand as neutral party between you. It is very important that both you and your ex agree on your choice of mediator. They will be working for both of you, not just one, and you need to be able to develop a rapport with them. Remember that it is their job to find a compromise between you and your ex and ensure that you both get, if not what you want, then enough of it to be reasonably happy.
How can you help our kids deal with the situation?
How does the divorce mediator handle the needs and desires of children, especially older ones? Will they talk to the children about what they want and give them a sense of some power in the situation? Decisions about the children should be driven by their needs, and a mediator can often see those more clearly. What is their process for discussing parenting plan and working on issues of custody, childcare, and education? Kids may benefit from just knowing the mediator is there, but a good mediator will not leave them out of the equation. Court battles tend to leave the kids caught in the middle, whilst mediation has been shown to give better long-term relationship. It is worth it for older kids to ask directly if the mediator is willing to talk to them. The mediator may also know of a counselor that you can go to or send them to.
How do you handle high conflict issues?
These might include financial issues, issues of childcare, even the custody of pets. In many cases, transparent communication and objectivity can help forge agreement and encourage couples to come to a resolution even on issues they thought they could never agree on. Find out what specific methods the mediator Uses when things become heated and make sure that those methods fit with your personal communication styles. The mediator needs to be somebody who can de-escalate conflict rather than adding to it, and this may only be determined by talking to them. Ask what the mediator does specifically, if people start yelling or storm out of the room. In some cases, it might be better to
discuss high conflict issues separately. You can also ask how they deal with a case where one spouse appears to be running roughshod over the other.
How do you handle unique issues of property and estates?
How does the mediator handle it when pets or companion animals are involved his can include high value animals such as show dogs or horses). Does the mediator understand how to work with clients who have higher value property? If you have a prenuptial agreement that only needs to be tweaked, can they work with that? The exact question may depend on your specific circumstances. Can they also give advice on how to change your will to handle your new financial situation? Do they know the tax implications that might be involved? What about retirement accounts? In some cases, the divorce mediator may need to have a solid knowledge of tax issues and basic accounting. Some retirement accounts can be split, others need to be liquidated. A mediator can also help with arguments over items of high sentimental value.
Finances and Possible Child Support or Alimony
First of all, make sure you think about the financial planning involved in a separation. While you might realize that divorce is expensive, keep in mind that you won’t just be paying for an attorney. You’ll also be dividing your assets. If you have a retirement plan, a savings account, or even personal investments, you may be legally required to share these with your partner. Rebuilding financially after a divorce can be time consuming, so make sure you thoroughly understand the decision you’re making before you solidify your choice. In addition to dividing your assets, YOU may also be required to pay alimony or child support to your former spouse. In some cases, you may pay both alimony and child support. These payments are designed to help your partner get back on their feet after the divorce. Note that while you may be required to pay child support until your child turns 18, alimony payments are limited and may be negated provided extenuating circumstances. Located in Family Law Firm in El Cajon can discuss your specific situation and guide you throughout your case.