Many of the financial issues in a divorce action are resolved through mediation, including the calculation of child support or alimony, or the division of real property, investment accounts, retirement accounts or closely-held businesses. Before you sit down in a conference room (or over Zoom in today’s Covid world), consider the following tips to help you through the first mediation session.
- Mediation Statement. Most of the time, you or your attorney will submit a statement summarizing the issues to be resolved and your settlement position regarding those issues. It is important to provide the Mediator with sufficient information to help you through the settlement negotiations. In most cases, you will attach your Case Information Statement, which is the detailed financial disclosure statement you prepared during the initial stages of your divorce. You should also provide the Mediator with any business evaluations, real estate appraisals, or any other supplemental information you believe will help the Mediator fully understand the facts of your case.
- Be open-minded. Be ready to discuss alternate settlement proposals because you may agree to some of the terms but not others. For example, if the distribution of the marital home is an issue, consider options. Do you want to sell the home? Purchase your spouse’s interest? Have your interest purchased by your spouse?
- Be patient. You may not be able to settle your case in one day. Many times, the first mediation session is used to identify the open issues and to set the ground rules. You may have to exchange several different proposals before you reach a final agreement. You may also need to exchange additional financial documents.
Expect the worst and hope for the best. Deciding the future for you and your family may be better than leaving the decision to a family law judge. Mediation is an effective tool to settle your case without having to involve the Court.
The family law attorneys at Cohn Lifland have substantial knowledge and experience in settling divorce cases. If you have any questions regarding the divorce process, contact the family law attorneys at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf, LLP.