Divorce Mediation: 5 Steps to Take Before & After

Divorce mediation is the process of solving a divorce without going to court. It can be an emotionally difficult process, but it can also be less time-consuming and expensive than going to court.

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It’s important to know what steps need to be taken before and after divorce mediation in order to get the most out of this process.

1. Figure Out What You Want

In almost all cases, you can’t get a divorce until you’ve been separated from your partner for at least 12 months in Australia. At that time, you might already know what assets you want and what arrangements will be best for your children. However, it’s worth sitting down and figuring out the details, either on your own or with your lawyer.

Have a look at all the assets you and your partner own, then determine which ones are most important to you. Is there an easy way to split them up equitably, or is it likely that something will need to be sold? Being clear about the various options and what you would prefer is important because it allows you to be more decisive during the mediation. You’ll have already considered all possibilities and know what you can agree to and what you don’t want.

2. Get a Clear Picture of Your Situation

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The average marriage lasts for more than 12 years, so it’s likely that you have built up significant assets and liabilities during that time. Before you attend your mediation, you should be aware of what you own, what you owe, and how these might be split up between you and your former partner. In most cases, the starting point of the negotiations will be a 50/50 split, but it isn’t always the case that things work out this way.

Sometimes, it is practical to award one spouse more of the assets, for example, if the children will live with them full-time and they, therefore, need more resources. Similarly, what both parties brought into the marriage might be taken into consideration. Hiring a good lawyer, who can also attend the divorce mediation with you, can help you get a clearer picture of your current and expected future financial situation.

3. Understand the Process

Knowing how the mediation process works and familiarizing yourself with the six steps you’ll go through can be helpful because it will allow you to prepare. First, you will listen to the mediator’s explanation of the rules and process and speak to them about what you want to get out of your session. They will help you define the problems and your goals. Then, you will explore some options for a settlement.

Each party will get to meet the mediator privately, so they can speak to them freely. The mediator will negotiate with you and your former spouse, trying to find a suitable solution for everybody. Finally, if an agreement has been reached, it will be summarised and put into writing. At that point, mediation is complete, and you can go ahead with your divorce.

4. Evaluate the Success of Mediation

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Once you’ve completed this process, you can evaluate whether it went well. If the outcome was positive and you have reached a conclusion, you can now start to plan for your future. However, if the mediation was unsuccessful, you’ll need to think about what to do next. Many couples attend multiple sessions, so you could go back and give it another go. If this isn’t a viable option, you might need to take things a step further and go to court.

Successful mediation ends in the drafting of a document, sometimes called the memorandum, which you and your former partner will sign. This outlines all the decisions that have been made during the meeting. However, the memorandum is not generally legally binding, and its purpose is to document what was discussed.

If you would like to make a formal contract, you and your former partner will need to get in touch with your attorneys and register the mediation agreement as a Consent Order with the Court. While you might consider skipping this step if your relationship is amicable, it’s usually a good idea to have a legal document to refer back to, and many mediators will advise you to do so after the process is complete.

It’s important to come to mediation prepared and to know what you want. On your own or together with your lawyer, you should go through your assets and liabilities to figure out what your current situation is and how this could change in the future. That way, you’ll be able to negotiate optimally. After the meeting, you can evaluate whether it went well and think about what steps to take next.

Divorce Mediation: 5 Steps to Take Before & After 1

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