Mediation is a requirement for most couples facing a divorce in Greenville, South Carolina. Many of the state’s counties have now implemented a mandatory mediation requirement prior to a final divorce hearing. Even though mediation may be mandatory, though, it is also a good idea to go through the process if a couple is unable to resolve the case amicably on their own.
Making the Most of Mediation
Deciding to divorce can be a long and daunting road, but once a couple has made that decision, they need a detailed plan to help them move on to the next chapter in their lives. The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement that works without spending all of one’s savings on costs and legal fees or spending a great deal of stressful time in court.
One of the best ways to handle the process of mediation is to be adequately prepared – and that goes for both the couple and the attorneys. Here are some tips to help one prepare for mediation:
- Make sure you pick the right mediator. One should feel comfortable opening up to the mediator and should not feel judged or swayed by the mediator’s comments or questions.
- If at all possible, try to choose a time of day or day of the week for mediation meetings when you can completely focus your attention on the mediation and not have to worry about running off to another appointment.
- Never agree to something immediately. It is okay to disagree in principle and request time to think about the subject.
- Ask lots of questions to both the mediator and the ex-spouse. It is important to clearly understand the decisions being made during mediation.
- Be fair to the ex-spouse and any children. Going into mediation with an ax to grind or not concentrating on the important matters can make the process extremely frustrating for all parties.
- Take as much time as is needed since mediation does not have to be wrapped up in a single day. The process can take as much or as little time as it takes for the spouses to develop a plan.
- If finances are to be discussed at mediation, be prepared by understanding the marriage’s financial picture and bringing statements with to the meetings.
Even More Ways to Prepare for Mediation for a Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina
Once one has made lists of assets and gathered financial statements, it is time to figure out what to do with everything the couple has from the marriage. This can be a difficult process that takes a great deal of time determining what is important to each individual.
Just as with traditional negotiations, the spouses must determine a range of acceptable terms, from everything one hopes to get out of the divorce to the things they are not prepared to walk away without once they reach the end of the divorce process.
If the couple has children, they will want to ensure that they keep the parental access decisions separate from financial decisions. Some people may try to use visitation or custody wants in exchange for financial wants, and that is not always in the best interest of the child.
It is also important to draft a budget and make necessary projections for what the budget will be after the divorce. This can help one get a sense of one’s current financial picture and what one needs going into the future.
Consider the Children
While children may be resilient, divorce is still tough on them. Spouses can help children to cope by minimizing the negative effect of the process.
No matter a child’s age, parents should tell them what is going on, since it will affect their lives. It is a good idea for parents to talk to children together, so spouses should agree on how it will be done, where, and what each person will say. It works well to present a united front and to answer the child’s questions honestly. Experienced family mediators can help spouses build conflict resolution and effective communication skills during the sessions so that after mediation each may effectively continue to co-parent.
Understand the Issues Involved in the Case
To make the best decisions possible, try working with a dedicated Greenville divorce attorney to understand the issues involved in the case and how the law applies to such issues. A lawyer will help their client understand where the case is weak and where it is strong and the points to focus on during mediation.
Attend Mediation with Priorities
Do not wait until mediation starts to figure out what is important and non-negotiable. Determine the non-negotiables well in advance in order to prioritize them during mediation.
Be Prepared to Make a Decision
Try to remember that mediation is a negotiation process. Usually, spouses will not have to share a conference room with one another and your Greenville divorce lawyer will be there, but everyone involved is still expected to be an active participant in the process. It can be difficult to resolve a case when clients cannot make a decision about important issues, and it may even result in continued litigation, increased legal costs, contested trials, and the risk of a judge determining the outcome of the case and removing any decision-making and control from the spouses.
Have a Greenville Divorce Attorney on Your Side During the Mediation Process
Since mediation has become an obligatory part of a divorce in Greenville, South Carolina, the entire process may seem even more daunting and stressful. But, with a dedicated attorney at your side, mediation can help you find amicable resolutions and avoid having to go through the stress and cost of a court case.
To help prepare for mediation and to ensure one knows what one wants to achieve with the process, contact Lauren Taylor Law to book a consultation and discuss all legal options and rights in the state of South Carolina.
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor is an authority on family law in Charleston and Greenville. Lauren Taylor Law is an authority on divorce, child support, and alimony in South Carolina. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for several years now. Lauren Taylor relies on her experience and passion to fight for you during this stressful time. Learn more about her experience here.