Getting Ready

Sep 12, 2022

New clients often ask me what they need to do to prepare for the mediation process. There are two parts to the answer:

  • Be ready to discuss content
  • Be ready for productive dialogue

Preparing to make important decisions
As a mediator, I want you to have as much information as possible to be ready to discuss all the important topics that will arise in a divorce mediation—whether those relate to your children, your assets and debts, or your financial needs.

I provide you with:

  • a complete outline of topics typically discussed in mediation.
  • a complete list of financial documents to gather and share (so there is full transparency and disclosure of finances).
  • legal information (especially important if you choose to come to mediation without engaging an attorney as a consultant).
  • examples of how a parenting plan can be structured.
  • worksheets for budget planning.

Preparing for productive dialogue
Some clients, even though their marriage is ending, have the ability to conduct respectful and meaningful conversations on their own. However, many don’t. You shouldn’t be surprised if you’re uneasy about the prospect of having to engage in a challenging conversation with your soon-to-be ex. It could be difficult to talk about creating separate futures involving co-parenting, separating finances, and attempting to agree on arrangements for support to establish two financially sustainable households where the needs of the children are met.

You cannot control your ex’s thoughts, speech or behavior, but you can prepare yourself for mediation by raising self-awareness to help you be at your best.

You cannot control your ex’s thoughts, speech or behavior, but you can prepare yourself for mediation by raising self-awareness to help you be at your best. And if you and your ex are both more self-aware, that can help you to be more ready and focused on the quality of your dialogue in your mediation sessions.

As your mediator, I work with both of you, providing you with exercises in advance to promote greater self-awareness. Such exercises help you reflect on a number of questions:

  • Your feelings about mediation… Why choose it over litigation? How will agreements be better reached in mediation? What are your concerns about the process?
  • Communication with your spouse… What blocks you and your ex from having productive conversations? What do you think may be worrying your spouse as he/she comes into mediation with you? What is the status of trust in your relationship, and how do you rebuild trust? What model do you want to set for your children as you end your marriage?
  • Your personal qualities… What are you core values? What process do you follow for making decisions? How do you express yourself and interact with others? How do you react to conflict?

Just as athletes exercise and train before they compete, this self-preparation can make you ready to move past the communication challenges of the past and reset yourselves for better conversations in mediation.