Scheduling a consultation for divorce mediation can feel like a big step for both you and your spouse. It’s a statement that the two of you have decided to move beyond considering separation and divorce, and are ready to legally formalize a major life transition. It is usually too soon to schedule a consultation for divorce mediation if only one spouse is on board.
You might view the consultation as a turning point, and so you’ll want to spend a bit of time preparing for your divorce mediation consultation. That also means getting into the best frame of mind to absorb all the information you are about to ingest.
How do I prepare for a divorce mediation consultation?
1) Start to envision your post-divorce life.
You can breathe a sigh of relief for a moment because you don’t need to have anything worked out ahead of the consultation. No fancy spreadsheets or proposals are required. However, now is the time to start envisioning your post-divorce life. Do you hope to keep the house? Will you change jobs or return to work? Is it important to still coach your daughter’s basketball team? The more clearly you communicate your vision with your spouse and divorce mediator, the better able you can begin to set realistic goals.
2) Take an inventory of what assets you have.
In CA, as in our process at Kim Mediation and Law Center, the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure, consisting of FL-142 and FL-150, will be completed during the divorce process, including divorce mediation. FL-142 deals with your assets and debts and FL-150 deals with your income and expenses. Before you can mediate the division of assets and debts, it will be necessary to lay out everything on the table, so we can determine the complexity of your case, as well as establish transparency from the start.
3) Make a list of all questions on your mind.
Divorce can feel scary, especially with children involved. Use the consultation as an opportunity to allay your fears to get direct information from an expert who can help you both understand the realities of divorce. Well-intentioned family and friends and lots of internet research can accidentally create more anxiety, so now is the time to raise your voice and be heard, on behalf of your own future, and that of your children.
At Kim Mediation and Law, we are aware of this potential difference in background knowledge between spouses. Oftentimes, one spouse has done quite a bit of research, while another has not, for whatever reason. That’s why we start from the very beginning, so everyone is on the same page going forward.
The session is highly educational, so be prepared to learn and ask questions. No question is inappropriate. It’s highly likely that you have never been divorced before, and very likely you have never hired a mediator or lawyer.
What are some questions I should ask of my divorce mediator?
As part of having an open, ready-to-learn mindset, create a list of questions.
Here are a few common questions that I receive:
- What are my qualifications and experience in a case like ours?
- What happens if divorce mediation doesn’t work for us?
- Is mediation less expensive than hiring my own attorney? How do your fees work?
- How can you tell if we are good candidates for divorce mediation?
- How long does divorce mediation take?
What if I have questions about divorce law in CA? Will a divorce mediator be able to answer those questions?
No matter how amicable, most spouses want to understand how the divorce law in CA applies to their specific situation. At Kim Mediation and Law Center, we spend time educating you and your spouse on an overview of divorce law in CA. Only in a consultation can your situation be accurately assessed.
Can I still schedule an attorney consultation just for myself?
At Kim Mediation and Law Center, there is no need to be represented individually by an attorney. Everything you’ll need to know about the mediation process and an overview of your legal rights and responsibilities under the law is covered in a divorce mediation consultation. However, you may wish to schedule a private consultation prior to divorce mediation consultation with your spouse. In this case, contact us for a referral to a mediation-friendly attorney.
What happens after our divorce mediation consultation?
Shortly thereafter your consultation for divorce mediation, you will both need to make some decisions.
A few forms will need to be completed, along with an engagement agreement, and your first mediation session can be scheduled within a few weeks.
Our goal is to ensure that your matter does not delay and moves at a pace that makes the most sense for your situation.
If and when you and your spouse are ready, we are here to guide you through the divorce process, from start to finish. Contact me to schedule your consultation.