In Utah, the law requires parties to a divorce attend at least one session of divorce mediation in good faith prior to going to trial. Mediation can be an effective means of reaching a settlement agreement, even in hotly contested matters. However, going into a mediation not prepared and without supporting evidence for your claims can lead to a huge waste of time and money spent in the process. The key to any mediation is in large part is the preparation going in.
What You Need to Know
Before you go to mediation, you need to know all the details surrounding your claims. For example, if there are financial matters at issue such as alimony or child support. You need to know your own total financial picture and that of your soon to be ex. You need to know your spouse’s income, expenses, assets, etc. If there are child issues at stake, you need to know your spouse’s work schedule and the schedules of your kids. If assets are at issue such as a marital home, business, or bank accounts, you should know exactly the value of each asset. For any issue, you should be fully aware of how the law applies to your case. Understanding how a judge would rule if you don’t agree can help you manage your risk in the matter.
What You Need to Bring
Generally speaking, you should go to the mediation with evidence to support all of your claims. If financial matters are at stake, you should have a fully executed financial declaration with all supporting documents. You need to make sure the other side has provided you with the same. If a home is at issue, you should have an appraisal or other document demonstrating the value. If child custody is at stake, a calendar showing all the recent days of the last few months you have had with the children can have a great impact.
Bringing a Lawyer to Mediation
Even if you are yet to hire a lawyer, you should consider getting one on board if nothing else just for the mediation. A good St. George Divorce Attorney can help you adequately prepare and organize for the mediation to help ensure your best chance of reaching an agreement. Additionally, since the mediator is not looking out for your best interests, having an attorney by your side only focused on what is best for you can be invaluable. As mentioned, knowing how a judge would likely rule on any given issue is essentially to effectively mediating. A lawyer can help in the mediation and give you an idea of what you could expect at court.