Most people go into divorce mediation unprepared and unsure of what to discuss once it begins. You and your soon to be ex have decided to do divorce mediation. Good! The benefits can be many. A good mediator, trained in divorce situations should be leading the way and while each mediator has his or her own style, it is still a good idea to go into mediation knowing what you want to accomplish and where you want to start. Some believe that you should try to mediate the smaller things first to estabish trust and get things off to a positive start by knocking out the easy issues. This makes sense. Others believe that you should go in ready to start on that which is the most important to you, perhaps child custody or a visitation schedule. There is wisdom to this too as it might make sense to mediate the big ones first if either one of you is worried about time and have only committed to one or two sessions. You don’t want to leave mediation feeling like you agreed on the small things that you would have probably agreed on anyway, without the chance to talk about the more serious topics. Should that happen, perhaps you can schedule more mediation if it went well. Either way, have a list (either in your head or on paper) of what you want to accomplish. If you have been working with an attorney, ask him or her to remind you what the issues are and what your husband or wife’s position has been so far. This will provide you with a sense of direction and purpose as you start out in mediation. You can ask to have your lawyer at mediation if it would make you feel more comfortable, although it is not very common.
Carol O’Connor Cadiz is a divorce attorney and also a mediator (just not both for the same people!). Schedule a confidential consultation if you are wondering if divorce mediation might be right for you. We are located in Itasca and Schaumburg, not far from the Rolling Meadows Courthouse.