If you go through a divorce in Tennessee, you’re probably going to have to go through mediation, first. We have found that our clients who come in with some idea of what they want the most are often more willing to negotiate with their spouses, and to give mediation the “college try,” as they say. The idea of an “ideal” divorce might sound a little silly, but thinking about your options before you start mediation can help move the process along.
We know that it’s not always easy to agree with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse on all of these factors (and in some cases, it can seem downright impossible), but if your split is amicable, you might want to work through some of these with him or her before you meet with the attorneys. If that isn’t feasible, you can always write down your own ideas and concerns, and bring them to us. Here are some suggestions about what you can think about before you enter mediation:
- Make a list of all of your marital assets, and make it known which ones you would like full control over. If you have non-negotiables (for example, you want to keep the car and furniture), know what you are willing to give up that is of comparable value. Make a list of savings accounts and retirement accounts, so there are no surprises later.
- Know your debts. Know which debt is yours alone, your spouse’s alone, and what you have accrued together. Be honest and forthcoming about your financial situation. If you are unsure, you should gather all of the financial documentation you have and bring it with you to your mediation session.
- Create your ideal spousal support plan. Include temporary support in this document, as well as what support will look like over time. Does it increase? Decrease? What happens if one or both of you re-marry?
- Similarly, create your ideal parenting plan. Know what you want to do with your kids, and find what works best for your children and family. Location, age, and relationship to parents might play a role in what this plan looks like.
- Know what is in your will, estate plan, and any trusts for children. This can include insurance policies that you might hold on your soon-to-be-former spouse.
- Know where you are willing to budge. Compromise will happen in mediation, and it is beneficial to note where you will and will not be flexible.
We have found that the people we represent often change their minds about what is truly important to them – and that’s okay. Just writing it all down is sometimes enough to make a person realize what he or she really wants the most. It can give you a starting point for the negotiations, and help your mediation and your divorce go more smoothly.
At Shepherd and Associates, P.C., we help our clients through every step of the divorce process. We aim to make the process as stress-free as possible, but we know how to fight when times get tough. If you have questions about mediation, or if you’re thinking about divorce, one of our lawyers in Maryville is ready to help. Please call 865-225-9655 or fill out our contact form to learn more.