It’s fundamental to the divorce mediation process that you make informed decisions.
The mediation process provides you with the opportunity to make decisions that work for your family, however there are still guidelines that should be followed to ensure that your decisions last.
- Know what decisions you need to make?
- Know what your legal rights are?
- Know what your children’s legal rights are?
- Know what your obligations are?
- Know what your soon to be ex’s rights and obligations are?
If it sounds like a lot, you’re right, it is. There is a lot to know before you start making decisions about your future.
Here’s something I know you will find shocking…just because your ex told you or your best friend who just got divorced told you something doesn’t make it true OR appropriate for you.
While I appreciate that you may want to reduce costs and negotiate things yourself, I would suggest starting the negotiation after you have all of the relevant information. Do you understand the processes available to you? Have you completed your financial disclosure? Have you been to see a lawyer, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst or a mediator?
Now I’m not saying not to negotiate on your own…not at all. My concern is when people come to me after they’ve decided on things and it’s clear that they don’t understand the process or the law and are putting themselves at risk.
- When you say that you expect a share in your common-law partner’s pension – do you know that the laws are not the same for married and common-law relationships?
- When you say that you will waive your rights to your ex’s pension – do you know how much the pension is?
- When you say that you want spousal support to continue not to work – do you understand that you each have an obligation to be financially independent?
- When you say that you will waive child support, do you understand that it’s your children’s right to receive financial support from both parents and not yours?
- When you say you want to buy out the other from the house, do you understand the financial costs of doing so?
As a mediator, I’m not going to tell you what the law says but I am going to tell you that there is potentially a legal issue which may make all of your negotiations unenforceable or leave you at risk for this coming back to haunt you.
As a mediator, I’m not going to give you advice, legal or otherwise. You need to do what you feel is right.
As a mediator I do need to make sure that you know your rights, that you understand your financial position and that you understand your children’s rights.
I need to make sure that you have balanced conversations and make informed decisions. While mediation is much more flexible than other processes, it isn’t the wild west.
I want you to do this once and do it right. I don’t want you to have a case 6 months or 3 years after separation that blows up all of the hard work that you did at the time of separation.