Preparing for Mediation
I find that most clients want to feel prepared in mediation. It may help to have considered the topics you will discuss in advance. If you have an attorney, you may wish to visit with him or her about your options or what the judge would be more likely to do in your case.
On the day of mediation, bring along anything you may want to use there. This may include:
- pay information,
- health insurance information,
- tax returns,
- child support calculations,
- lists of property,
- statements for retirement,
- bank account information,
- and other assets.
If you have appraisals, calendars, the school schedule, or your work schedule, feel free to bring them along as well.
Also bring a calculator, paper, and a book or something to do in case the mediator goes back and forth between rooms and you are left alone for long periods of time. At my office, you will have a wireless internet connection. If the mediation is held elsewhere, do not assume you will have that capability.
Snacks and beverages will usually be permitted. Smoking will not be. Feel free to ask the mediator to take a break if you need one to smoke, use the restroom, call your lawyer, or just because you need one.
The discussions that you have in mediation are not admissible in court. The reason for this is that we really want you to be able to be accommodating and to freely discuss options without committing to them.
You should remember though, that information provided may come into evidence. Just because it is said in mediation does not mean it stays in mediation. If you provide the other party with an appraisal, he or she may be able to use it. Anything that is offered in negotiations is not admissible, so if you offer to try a schedule and it does not work out, the other party will not be able to say you offered it in mediation.
You may use the North Dakota Model Parenting Plan to help you prepare for mediation. This plan has a lot of ideas for you as to what a parenting plan can contain.
Be flexible; be prepared to compromise; but always keep what is best for your children in mind.