If you are like many struggling spouses in New Jersey, you understand that your divorce does not have to be a contentious battle in a courtroom. In fact, you may be hoping to keep your private life off the public record and to remain as civil as possible throughout the proceedings. To this end, you and your spouse may be considering mediation rather than going to court for your divorce.
Mediation is a process that allows you and your spouse to negotiate a settlement on your own and reach agreements on the major issues as well as the fine details of your divorce. Many couples prefer this control over the outcome better than allowing a judge to make decisions for them. However, if you want your mediation to be successful, there are certain things you will have to avoid.
Making mediation work for you
Emotions can run high during divorce no matter how cordially you and your spouse plan to keep it. You may not even realize you are sabotaging your chances of a peaceful divorce through mediation. Nevertheless, a successful mediated divorce requires both parties to have the intention to give and take to reach a mutual agreement on as many issues as possible. This may not happen if you or your spouse do any of the following:
- Enter the process with the goal of getting your way on every issue
- Hide assets even if your spouse was unfaithful or you believe your spouse owes you
- Refuse to participate or cooperate during your meetings
- Fail to prepare well for mediation by gathering appropriate documents and having a firm grasp of your goals
- Use your children as pawns to get what you want
- Make serious but untrue accusations against your spouse, such as alleging abuse, infidelity or addiction
- Make statements that will goad your spouse into an emotional response
It may help to keep in mind that your mediated divorce is like a business transaction. If you aim to destroy your spouse in the process, you may end up destroying your own hopes of a civil and satisfying outcome. On the other hand, if you are looking for revenge or a way to punish your spouse, mediation may not be the best route to take.
No matter which method of divorce you decide, it is always a good idea to seek solid legal counsel from an attorney with experience in both litigation and mediation.