Twenty years ago, domestic mediation was not common in domestic cases. A primary reason is because spouses were bitter and, perhaps, socially divorce was associated with a courtroom battle. Today all of that has changes. The Indiana Supreme Court has allowed trial courts to order domestic litigants to civil mediation before a contested trial—and trial courts have adopted the view and usually require mediation before a trial.
Because mediation is accepted by our society at large, it has a different perception. This is that divorce cases do resolve at mediation. For this reason, litigants and attorneys embrace it as the end point of the case, not the beginning of the process. To make your case more likely to settle at domestic mediation, there are several things you can do to assist in the process:
- First, have your “discovery” completed. Discovery is process of getting all information from the opposing party or third sources (such as bank records) so there is a complete financial snapshot of the case. Discovery is no time to be guessing at the finances or status of bank accounts.
- Second, have any valuations or appraisals done and up-to-date, such as with valuation of the marital home and retirement accounts.
- Third, help your attorney understand your bottom line and why. Mediation is a give and take process and, if you leave thinking you settled, but are not satisfied, this is probably as good as mediation can get.
- Fourth, talk with your attorney about the mediator selection. Selecting the right mediator is often a key to resolving a case. For instance, a mediator that “knows” complex financial transactions might be the right person for a high asset divorce.
- Fifth, listen. The entire divorce is going to end and your attorney and the mediator want to do the best job for you, your division of assets, and children. It is easy to tune them out if you do not like the message.
- Sixth, realize that no matter the outcome, mediation is a day you can decide your case, not in a court. Courts do a very diligent job, but be it in your mind to help pick and choose what you think is most important.
Following these common sense, but yet hard to understand-in-the-moment guides, can make the most of your mediation. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates practice across the state of Indiana. This blog post is not a solicitation for legal services or advice. We hope it helps you or a friend in need who is considering mediation in their divorce.