Trust is an important element to effective negotiations. If you don’t trust that your husband is going to be transparent with his financial picture, or is going to hide important information, then you might need to postpone mediation until you are satisfied that he has provided everything that is required. If your lack of trust is more focused on your husband’s willingness or ability to carry out what is agreed upon, you can rely on the mediator to ask many questions that will bring out the necessary data about the performance of certain provisions of the settlement. A good mediator will not take sides in mediation. A cornerstone principle is that mediators are impartial as to the outcome and neutral as to the parties. If you feel the mediator is becoming biased against you, you can always call the mediator on it or withdraw from mediation, because it is voluntary. The worry about not getting what you are entitled to can be addressed by hiring an attorney, so that you know what a court might grant you and what the law is. You and your spouse are in the best position to know what is fair based on your own history together but an attorney can assist you between mediation sessions in letting you know just what to ask for.
Thomas J. Petrelli, Jr. is a partner at Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC, focusing on cases of divorce and related matters, support, custody, and parental rights.