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A Beginners Guide to Divorce Mediation: Everything You Need to Know

"I want to protect my interests, but I don't want a long, messy, and expensive divorce."

Does this resonate with you? Probably. Contrary to popular belief, most people do not want to battle it out in divorce court or "lawyer up" and let a divorce attorney or judge call the shots about who gets what or where the kids live.

But what happens when you've been married for a solid amount of time and have acquired property along the way? What if one of you put your career on hold to take time to raise the kids? Sometimes, the "answer" is not as simple as dividing everything in half. There may be complicating factors thrown into the mix, like an inheritance or a stock that hasn't yet been vested.

For these types of divorces, a DIY divorce plan may not be the best option.

You have options.

If you've read a divorce resource or two on Hello Divorce, you probably know our mission: to change the conversation around divorce, making the process transparent and the experience empowering. We recently launched a new service for this exact type of split: Cooperative Divorce. This all-in-one online solution includes all the procedural divorce stuff (like preparing, filing, and processing the necessary court forms) but adds in a certified divorce mediator who facilitates a win-win divorce agreement, saving you time and $10,000s in legal fees.

But you didn't click this link to get a sales pitch, so let's move on to how we're going to set you and your spouse up for a "successful" divorce with the help of mediation.

First, break the news gently.

No matter how and when you break the "D" news, it's awful for both of you ... even if you both knew it was coming. It's really important how you do it. We've got some solid tips here.

Set up ground rules.

You've probably done your research and know just how expensive divorce can get. You've also heard how stressful it can be. And let's face it: The last thing you want to do is air all your dirty laundry in a public courtroom. But how do you get your spouse on board with mediation?

First, see if the two of you can set up some ground rules for the divorce process. Can the two of you agree that you will only use the court as a last resort? Or that you'll only seek legal guidance from a lawyer trained in settlement (not just litigation)? The more ground rules you set in place, the more each of you will be able to manage divorce overwhelm. 

Related: How to get your spouse on board with divorce mediation

Strategize. (Really.)

It sounds deceitful, but it's not. Strategizing is a great way to make the divorce process more efficient. (Quicker is better. It's already going to take a bit longer than you expected.)

What's more, strategizing is an awesome way to feel in "control" of the process. Knowing what your best versus worst-case scenario is will definitely help you figure out what's reasonable and fair. Click the link below for tips on gathering financial info, determining your non-negotiables, and getting a self-care plan in place.

Related: Do these 6 things before you begin mediation

Increase your chance of a great result.

If you're reading this divorce resource, you are likely already a few steps ahead of your spouse. Don't stop here. Review the article Tips For a Successful Mediation to help make the mediation process more productive from the start and to get a divorce mediation agreement that'll set you up for life after divorce and your next (best) chapter.


Download your essential mediation checklist.

 The hard truth: Mediation can be grueling. Even a skilled mediator can't protect you from all the emotional triggers that come up during the process of ending your (marital) relationship. We'll help you keep your eyes on the prize: a win-win resolution that sets you up for your next best chapter. Our 10-point checklist has the BEST tips we've learned over the last 16+ years of mediating divorces. From prep to post-divorce, we've got you covered with practical tips you can easily implement.

Download: The Ultimate Guide to Divorce Mediation: Your 10-Point Checklist

*Not sure if mediation is the best option for you? Schedule a 15-minute call.