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A primer: Getting the most out of the divorce mediation process

We have noted in prior select blog posts, as have many family law commentators, the myriad advantages inherent in divorce mediation for some divorcing couples.

The key word there is “some,” given that not every soon-to-be former couple will benefit more from this process than by dissolving their marriage through a standard litigated divorce. Candidly, some divorces are best carried out within close proximity of a courthouse, with a judge being available to weigh in on and adjudicate one or more material issues that a couple cannot reach agreement on themselves.

For those who can largely leave anger and unilateral negotiating positions at the door, though, divorce mediation can be, as noted by one family law professional, “a financially sensibly and family-friendly choice.”

In fact, in many instances in Georgia and elsewhere across the country, a mediated divorce is simply the way to go, especially when divorcing parties secure the assistance of a certified mediator and attorneys well-versed in the process.

We pass along here for our readers some “to-do” considerations regarding mediation preparation that are discussed in a recent media article.

Foremost among them, perhaps, is sage advice stressing an open mind regarding the process. Couples choosing mediation over a litigated divorce in court usually do so for well-considered reasons, one of which is usually a desire for civility to the fullest extent possible. Acting rationally and dispassionately in mediation often promotes many other positive outcomes, such as enhanced efficiency, lower costs, fewer burned bridges down the road and so forth.

Here’s another tip for ensuring an optimal mediation outcome: Come prepared. That means showing up at the outset with all relevant details concerning assets and liabilities, as well as a base understanding of the legal right and duties associated with divorce.

And don’t hesitate to be fully candid with the mediator and insistent about communicating important goals and concerns. An experienced mediator not only expects that, but is specially trained to respond in ways that move the process forward and help the parties get the most out of it.

Source: Huffington Post, "How to prepare for your first mediation session -- your eight steps plan," Michelle Rosen, Oct. 17, 2013

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