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If you plan to utilize a mediator for your divorce, you should educate yourself about the process. While your attorney will be available outside of the mediation to give you advice and information, you will ultimately be the one making decisions in the room with your spouse and chosen mediator.

To prepare yourself for active negotiations and the decision-making that you will be tasked with, you might consider brushing up on your negotiation skills.  

  • Do your homework. Doing your homework can be especially important when it comes to property division negotiations. To know what is reasonable and possible, you should have all of the relevant information. Collect bank statements, tax returns, titles and other financial data so that you know what is on the line.
  • Be clear in your communication. Being unsure of your needs and goals can work against you in negotiations and leave you feeling unheard.  To avoid this, take some time to think about what you want when you divorce.  What is most important to you?  What are you willing to waive your interest in, if anything?  Additionally, being specific and direct can help your spouse understand what you are asking for. 
  • Listen to the other person. Negotiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s also about listening. Listening to the other person can help you understand their perspective and glean information they may not have shared on paper. Additionally, listening well can show respect, a level head, and maturity, and encourage similar behavior from your spouse.
  • Keep it clean. Don’t resort to name calling or pointing fingers. Stay focused on the matters at hand and finding solutions.

These and other tips, like those in this Forbes article on negotiation, can help you have a more productive mediation session.