How to Prepare for Mediation



Families undergoing the transformative change of divorce often need a guiding hand no matter how amicable the separation is for the couple. The goal of mediation is to empower each individual to take personal responsibility for the terms of the divorce. In order to reach this goal, each party must take ownership of what they bring to the mediation table so that a permanent solution can be reached and litigation can be avoided. Here are a few tips on how divorcing couples can prepare for a successful mediation.

Do Your Homework

The mediator needs to be as informed as possible in order to provide the best guidance and recommendations for how to determine the distribution of assets, money, and custody schedules that will work best under your divorce circumstances. Make sure to fill out any paperwork requested by your attorney or mediator with honest, accurate information. You should also gather and organize all of your financial documentation along with any pertinent facts and supporting evidence that could impact the decisions being made during mediation.

Be Ready to Compromise

Mediation is a process of compromises and isn’t intended to result in a “winner takes all” conclusion. Turning conflict into productive interaction is a central pillar of mediation, and the goal is to turn disagreements that spark fear and misunderstanding into negotiations that lead to longstanding solutions for both parties. The best way to prepare yourself for compromise is to prioritize your needs and wants by importance to you and support those requests with evidence and reasoning.

Trust Your Mediator

Your certified mediator is there to guide you toward a solution that will work in the best interest of everyone in the family. They are trained, trustworthy, and motivated to help you. Mediators don’t take sides, they gather facts, guide conflict, and deliver carefully calculated decisions. It’s imperative to the process that you come to the mediation table ready to speak honestly to your mediator.

Plan to Be Present

Divorce can be a tumultuous and emotional journey. While going through a divorce, you might be dealing with instability in several areas of your life. However you may be feeling before you step into the room about your marriage, stress over money, or difficulties at work, plan to be both emotionally and physically present at the mediation. Respect the process and the mediator by being on time, and leave other emotional baggage at the door so that you can be equipped to participate in the conversations that will lead to permanent solutions and a better path forward for everyone.

Walking into that mediation room for the first time can feel daunting, but you can feel prepared and confident if you follow each of these steps. At Shafer Law Firm, we have several skilled attorneys happy to assist you and answer any questions about divorce that you may have. Contact us for more information.


About the Author: Elizabeth L. Spadafore

Elizabeth was raised in Meadville, PA and was a local small business owner before attending Duquesne University School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctorate degree in 2010.  She focuses her practice on family law matters such as divorce, custody and support. Her background as former County Solicitor for Crawford County Children and Youth services, combined with her experience in bankruptcy actions and personal injury actions, allows her to successfully navigate matters that are both highly sensitive and legally complex.


This content is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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