For a long time, the only way to get divorced in Wisconsin was through litigation. But in recent decades, alternatives like mediation and collaborative divorce have become increasingly popular. These alternatives aren’t appropriate for everyone. But in cases where they are a good fit, participants can often reach resolutions more quickly and with less stress than in litigated divorce.
If you’ve decided that mediation might be right for you, it is important to prepare yourself mentally and logistically in order to get the most out of the process. We’ve provided some tips below.
Choose a good mediator as well as a lawyer
Mediators are neutral third parties who can give legal information but not legal advice. When choosing a mediator, you’ll want to hire someone who is very familiar with Wisconsin divorce laws as well as common practices in family law cases. The person you hire should also have a reputation for helping clients reach agreements efficiently and productively. Certain family law attorneys, including some at our firm, can serve as neutral mediators when hired for that purpose.
Because mediators aren’t necessarily lawyers, it may be a good idea to hire an attorney to help you prepare for mediation and to consult with during the process.
Come prepared with information and goals
Although the mediator will guide you through the process and bring up each new topic to be discussed, you should spend time preparing for mediation sessions with your own attorney. You’ll need to gather and disclose relevant financial information and documentation prior to the scheduled sessions. But you and your attorney should also discuss your goals for property division, spousal support and other issues to be decided in mediation. Compromise may be necessary, but you should have a good idea of what your needs and goals are before going into the sessions.
Listen with an open mind and commit to finding solutions
Mediation is a process that you and your spouse have both agreed to participate in. But for the process to be successful, you need to remain committed to reaching an agreement. That requires a willingness to compromise and to keep an open mind. The more flexibility you have with the terms of the divorce (provided these terms meet your needs), the easier it will be to reach a mutually beneficial resolution.
Have questions about mediation?
If you’d like to learn more about the process and how a skilled lawyer can help, please read through the mediation page on our website. Then, feel free to contact us to discuss your options.