A Checklist To Help You Prepare For Family Mediation
At The Quattro Firm, L.L.C., we understand that going through family mediation proceedings can be quite challenging and emotional. Legal settlements between family members are often viewed as stressful or laborious tasks, but with a little preparation, you can handle your family mediation quickly and easily.
As experts in family law mediation, we’ve created a handy checklist to help you obtain successful outcomes with as little stress as possible. Follow our checklist to ensure you are prepared mentally and emotionally, and not left feeling vulnerable or lost. This checklist will also help you gather the essentials for a quick and fruitful mediation so that you can get back to living your best life.
1. Hire the best attorney for yourself
Research and speak to several attorneys before choosing the best one. If you don’t feel comfortable with an attorney, do not hire them. The right attorney for you is typically a professional who understands your case, your needs, and your desires. You should also feel at ease while speaking to them about your situation and your feelings. You need to be comfortable enough to share your personal feelings and thoughts, even the ones that do not paint you in the best light.
2. File all the proper pleadings
Make sure you’ve answered your mandatory disclosures, prepared your financial affidavit, and all other preliminary and critical pleadings.
3. Attend your parenting course
If you have a minor child, attend your parenting course, and send your attorney your certificate to file. If you settle in mediation, you do not want this step to hold up your final resolution.
4. Review the other side’s financials
Do not rely on your attorney to do your homework for you. Review your opposing side’s financial disclosures and financial affidavit. You are in the best position to let your attorney know if you think something is wrong. You may even be the best person to notice patterns based on your relationship with the other person.
5. Be organized
Organize your own financials, your goals, your needs, and any budgets before mediation. Once an agreement is signed, you cannot go back and realize that you cannot make ends meet with what you have already agreed to.
6. Be prepared
Meet with your attorney beforehand so that they can explain to you what to expect. Find out if you will meet in the same room first and then meet separately with the mediator. Check if you will always be separated and make a note of what your attorney expects the offer(s) to be. Similarly, try to understand what you need to tell the mediator and what you should not tell the mediator.
7. Discuss your goals, wants, and needs with your attorney
If you cannot agree to allow the other party to not contribute to attorney’s fees, inform your attorney. Similarly, tell your attorney what you are ideally looking for and what the worst-case scenario is, according to you. Also, explain what can you live with, in case of the latter.
8. Review the numbers
Ask your attorney to show you some sample numbers for child support, equitable distribution, and alimony, so that you can plan accordingly.
9. Look over sample parenting plans
Consider doing this to understand the schedules you can expect with your child and their other parent. Once you’ve reviewed it, tell your attorney what you are willing to accept if the other party does not accept this schedule.
10. State your fears
In case you are afraid of the other party involved in the mediation, and you need to be kept apart, or you need to remain outside of the mediation, let your attorney and the mediator know about it. They can accordingly make necessary arrangements to help you feel comfortable and safe.
11. Sign any engagement letters
Some mediation requires payment in advance and engagement letters. If needed, it’s best to handle these in advance, to get them out of the way.
12. Plan your payment
If you need to borrow money to pay for mediation, you need to make those plans well in advance to avoid a sudden halt in your case.
13. Be humble, and be prepared to compromise
If you arrive with only your goals in mind and you’re unwilling to compromise, you may be deemed to be proceeding without good faith. This can cause sanctions in the future, and it isn’t productive for settling your case.
14. Be prepared if the result is an impasse
Discuss temporary relief with your attorney and see if it’s prudent to have a motion planned or filed in advance.
15. Have your calendar prepared
If you use a written calendar, bring it with you. If you need to decide on a schedule based on your child’s extracurriculars, bring the calendar or schedule with you so that you may plan accordingly.
16. Bring any debt instrument that needs to be determined
If you and the other party have joint credit cards, a mortgage, or loans that need to be divided, bring the balances with you so that they can be divided equally.
17. Prepare yourself emotionally
Family law is filled with emotions. If you need an apology before you can proceed, then tell your attorney. Often hurt feelings can cause a mediation to fail. If you are feeling emotional, discuss those feelings so that they can be addressed.
18. Bring a snack or beverage
Mediation sessions usually take a long time, which means you could be there for hours. While some mediations offer food and drinks, others do not. So, to ensure that you are not left hungry or thirsty, it’s a good idea to carry a snack and a drink if you need it.
19. Be prepared to update your estate plan
If you’re getting divorced, you’ll likely be making some new decisions for your estate plan. Prepare to make those changes after your divorce is finalized.
20. Bring a jacket
Some mediation offices are cold, and some are warm. As a result, it’s best to bring yourself an extra layer as a precaution.
If you have any concerns about how family law mediations work, feel free to reach out to the legal experts at The Quattro Firm, L.L.C. As top attorneys in West Palm Beach, Florida, we aim to help you solve your case with as little stress as possible. Moreover, we treat you as a person as opposed to a set of legal issues. At the same time, we make sure we understand your needs and concerns to advocate for you with compassion.