When divorces go through the family courts, they can become messier and more expensive than they might otherwise be. Couples may spend days in court presenting evidence and making claims about what they think would be fair for property division or custody arrangements.
Despite all of that investment in presenting one side of the case, couples that litigate essentially give up control over the outcome of their divorces. Mediation can be a better solution for those who know the end of their marriage is imminent.
Successful mediation will result in a signed agreement that allows you to move forward with an uncontested divorce. Taking the right steps to prepare for mediation will make it easier for you to secure a positive outcome during those negotiations. What is necessary as you prepare for divorce mediation?
An inventory of your assets and debts
You will have a hard time pushing for the best possible terms in mediation if you don’t have a thorough and accurate inventory of your household assets and debts.
Anything that you acquired during the marriage, ranging from your home to your ex’s five-figure business wardrobe, can be part of your marital estate. While you may not want your ex’s suit jackets, claiming their value in the divorce will be important to the outcome you negotiate.
An understanding of Virginia state laws
You will waste time and possibly set yourself up for failure if you come into mediation demanding unrealistic concessions from your ex. When you learn a bit about the rules that govern equitable property division, child custody and spousal support in a Virginia divorce, you can set goals that are realistic given the statutes in place.
A focus on the big picture for your future
Mediation can be an empowering experience as it allows you to retain control over your divorce. It also presents an opportunity to hold your spouse accountable for certain kinds of misconduct, like wasting assets on their drinking habit or having an affair, by asking for certain concessions.
While spousal misconduct can influence your relationship and what you think is fair, it’s important that you don’t get so hung up on trying to punish your ex that you refuse to compromise on anything. Mediation is most beneficial if you can actually reach an agreement, which will require compromise from both of you.
Thinking about the future you want can help you keep your priorities straight as you prepare for and undergo divorce mediation.