Be Prepared for Mediation- Emotionally and Clerically
1 De-Stress Before The Session
When you are getting ready for your first mediation session, it is totally normal to feel nervous or on edge. There are several things you can do to try to make the session as emotionally easy as possible.
- Know where you are going and how long it will take to get there.
- Get a good night’s sleep, and eat a good meal prior to the meeting.
- Write down the topics that you want to cover before the meeting. Also note how you would like the issues to be settled.
- Finally, it is helpful to speak with a good friend, support person, or your therapist before your mediation session so that you can get some last minute emotional support.
2 It’s A Mediation Not An Altercation
Keep in mind that you’re not there to argue. While there will inevitably be some things that the parties will disagree on during a mediation session, it is not the time to debate whether or not someone did have an affair, or to talk about how you always hated your sister-in-law. Starting arguments that are unrelated to the content of the mediation session are only going to get everyone riled up. Time will then have to be spent getting everyone back to a calmer place, and ready to resume the work of mediation.
3 Add Up Your Assets and Debts
Make an inventory of all marital property, both debts and assets. In order to divide up your marital property, it is essential to know about everything that was acquired during the marriage, including physical property, real estate, investments, and retirement accounts, along with any outstanding debts such as mortgages, car loans, student loans, and credit cards. The more detailed and accurate the information is, the more efficient the mediation process can be.
4 Complete the Financial Affidavit
This is a financial form that you can get from your mediator. It is used to look at your income, expenses, and budget, and will be used to help calculate any child support payments or spousal support payments (alimony). You want this to be as accurate as possible, so make sure to take your time completing it.
If You Have Children
5 Look Over A Parenting Plan
You will want to look over a blank parenting plan form (hopefully provided by your mediator) and think about how you want the custody of your child(ren) to look. Looking over the parenting plan also gives you information about all of the areas of custody that will need to be decided, and you can see what is more and less important to you. You will want to think about what your ideal plan is, and also what you are willing to compromise on.
6 Create A Georgia Child Support Calculator Account
You will want to go to https://csconlinecalc.georgiacourts.gov and sign up as a new user in order to begin to fill out the Georgia child support calculator. This calculator can be confusing, and is often done during mediation, so it is not necessary to complete it beforehand. However, it is helpful to set up an account and to take a look at it so that you know what information you will need to complete it.
7 Choose A Good Mediator!
This does not just mean someone who is competent at mediation, that should be a given. In addition to competence, you want someone that is a good fit for you personally, meaning that you feel comfortable with him or her, and feel that he or she is knowledgeable and empathic. If your mediator is a good fit, you will feel more comfortable disclosing necessary information, which is sometimes a bit embarrassing. This will speed up the mediation since mediators are able to function more efficiently if they have all the necessary information. Additionally, it is important to remember that divorce is messy, and involves a lot of emotion. If the mediator is not able to help the parties manage their emotions and focus on the topics that need to be discussed, it is easy to get off track. Therefore, you want someone who is a good listener, and who can help people process their emotions while also guiding them to stay on topic and move them through the process of mediation in an efficient manner.