Many folks think that all divorces must end in a trial, ala Kramer vs. Kramer. They don’t. The reality is that well over 99% of cases end without any trial, it ends in settlement. Typically settlements are either 1) done by just the lawyers and clients or 2) at mediation.
To succeed at a Divorce mediation you first you need to understand what mediation is. Mediation, in the divorce sense, is when the clients and the lawyers (usually, but not always) go and try and work out a deal. It’s not binding and if mediation doesn’t work it usually means that the next step is you go to trial and let the Judge decide who gets the kids and how to divide the property.
So now you know what mediation is, I’ll fill you in on the secrets of mediation success.
1) The first step is to make sure you (and your) lawyer is organized. Have cheatsheets ready, have values of the homestead, mortgage, retirement, Blue Book Values of the car, school schedules, etc. You need to know what you are negotiating about! There is nothing worse than starting to argue about what MIGHT be an issue.
2) You need to spend serious time thinking about your “life plan” and what you really want. If you don’t know what you want, you can’t expect your lawyer to be much help in fighting for something they don’t know what it is. Nothing is worse than when a client hasn’t thought about possible outcomes or what they want. Think about possible move restrictions with the kids, how much alimony do you NEED, how about cash payments, do you want the house? All of these questions should be thought about by you, not your lawyer, and you have answers ready to go well before the day you are sitting in the mediator’s office.
3) Be ready to say yes or no. Don’t ask for a day to think about it, you won’t get it. Go into the mediation ready to settle the case. People change their mind, have buyers remorse, and if you don’t sign on the line when it is offered you may not get the chance again.
There you go, the basics of mediation and how to succeed.
As always, if you have questions or comments either post them or email me at www.rokolaw.com
Rosengren Kohlmeyer, Law Office
Mankato, MN 56001