Mediation Game Plan: Where to Begin?
Start With the Basics
Mediation can be an empowering and amicable way to get divorced in Massachusetts.
Most couples are able to reach success in mediation and avoid going to court. Having clear goals and a strong mediation game plan can increase your chances of success. Developing a plan before you even sit down to the table can ensure your time and money is best spent. Sticking to your game plan and reaching success in mediation can be a positive experience in the midst of a negative one.
Break It Down
Handling your divorce on your own may seem insurmountable, but it is really just a matter of identifying what issues you need to agree on and then tackling them. An experienced Massachusetts mediator can help you and your spouse figure out what needs to be agreed upon in your divorce. A mediator can also give you the legal information you need to ensure your decisions are in accordance with the law and thus likely to be accepted by the court. The most common issues in Massachusetts divorces include:
- Division of debts and assets
- Child Custody and Parenting Time
- Child Support, and
Start with the issues applicable in your divorce. Write down specifically what needs to be decided for each one. For example, if you want to request alimony, include what type of alimony you may need, for how long, and how much in your plan. You can work out the details at the mediation table.
Developing a Game Plan
It is also important to work through the issues in a logical order. Make sure your game plan is organized in a way that will facilitate efficient discussions. The division of assets and debts may affect other areas of your divorce such as alimony. It is also sometimes the most difficult area to reach agreement on. This may be a good place to start. Next, you may want to discuss custody and parenting time. Because parenting time may affect child support, it is wise to reach agreement over the parenting time division before calculating child support.
Next, child support and alimony should be calculated.
With any successful game plan, you need to have some sort of a goal in mind. For example, you want to divide your assets and debts fairly, develop a solid parenting plan, and calculate child support and alimony. Work toward that goal by breaking it into pieces and tackling each piece individually.
You may want to schedule a mediation session for each major issue. You can draft your separation agreements in as little as a few sessions.
Divide and Conquer
Developing a successful game plan for mediation is simply a matter of identifying the major issues you will need to address, organizing your agenda to maximize efficiency, and having a solid plan B in place in case you cannot reach agreement. On a more practical note, don’t underestimate the importance of mediation day preparation. Come to the table well rested, well fueled, and ready to hit the ground running. Don’t try to fit in too many issues into one session. Also, have a plan in place for when you can’t see eye to eye. A skilled mediator can help you work through conflict effectively. Talk to your mediator about what he or she can do to help with the negotiations process. Knowing in advance what can be done to get you through difficult discussions can help you keep your end goal in mind.
Do you have questions about divorce mediation? If so, Mediation Advantage Services can help. Experienced in divorce mediation, family law attorney Polly A. Tatum can help you and your spouse reach your goals in mediation. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at [email protected] today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.