“I want to go to court as my husband cheated on me. He wants to mediate first. Will I gain anything by doing that?”
I believe that both of you will “gain” a better understanding of your case if not a complete resolution if you go to mediation first. You have to agree to participate (it is voluntary) and keep all of the discussions to yourselves (it is a confidential process so the mediator is not telling anything to anybody). In my mediations I encourage the parents to agree not to involve the children in their conflict. Your children have the right to be happy and to be loved, not to despair about the parental arguments.
Choose your mediator wisely. We come from different professional backgrounds: lawyers, psychologists, social workers etc. Ask about the reason why they became mediators and what kind of mediation they practise. Ask if they have upgraded their education since the initial mediation course (which is usually one week long). You will soon figure out if they do it because they love it or simply do it because it pays their bills. We are best at what we do when we are in a “flow”, a highly focused state of consciousness, when we are dedicated to our work regardless of the consequences just because we love the work itself.
Before you go to mediation prepare a written list of assets and debts that both of you have. Do not forget to put down the values of the assets. Remember that the car you bought three years ago is not now worth the same. How much would you get for it if you wanted to sell it now? That is the figure to put down on the list. Do not forget to put down the amounts of debts. In addition, write down your and your spouse’s full names as they appear on the marriage certificate and the names and the dates of birth of your children. You can use this list if you’re preparing for mediation or a consultation with a lawyer.
Find a mediator who loves being a mediator. She/he will take no sides but will guide you through a productive dialogue which will delineate the issues and will find creative solutions for your family. Isn’t it better to work out your own settlement instead of having one imposed on you by the court?
Dr. Anita Dorczak, is a Lawyer, Mediator and Collaborative Practitioner. She practices alternative processes that let clients resolve divorce and family disputes outside of court – making the divorce process easier and less confusing. Dr. Dorczak uses her skills to provide reasonable solutions to clients’ problems with the least possible time, cost and stress.