In Texas, mediation is often a necessity before the court will agree to hear a divorce case. Naturally, you want to make the most out of your mediation time and increase your chances of walking away with a favorable agreement.
So, how do you do it?
Here are the basic questions you need to ask yourself before you get to the mediation table:
1. What do you need to do to control your reactions to your spouse?
You may have to struggle to let go of blame and focus only on the important issues that have to be decided. Be realistic about how you expect your spouse to behave and prepare yourself to react in a calm, controlled manner — even if your spouse goes off the rails. You’ll spend less time on an emotional roller coaster if you anticipate what’s likely to happen and just plan for it.
Keep in mind that you can take breaks whenever things get heated and even ask for private sessions with the mediator if that’s what it takes to keep everyone focused.
2. What financial concerns do you have following the divorce?
Divorce is very much a financial transaction. You need to have a good understanding of what your monthly budget will look like following the divorce in order to negotiate from a position of power. Make sure that you have an organized file of all your financial information on hand for the mediation process. That will save a lot of time if there’s a dispute about the financial facts in the case.
3. What are you willing to give up during negotiations?
Knowing where you can make concessions is an important part of any negotiation. You can ask for everything you want — but you should realistically expect to give up at least a few of the things that you want. If you already know your “must-haves” in a settlement, negotiations will go along much more smoothly.
After you think about these questions, discuss your answers with your family law attorney in advance of your mediation date. That way, you’re both on the same page moving forward.