The decision to divorce is never easy, but that doesn’t mean that settling your divorce needs to be complicated. Most modern divorces are seen as a division of shared property and the majority of today’s divorces never even enter the court system beyond the basic paperwork and procedure.
For individuals who are involved in uncontested divorces, mediation can be a quick and cost-effective alternative to working with a lawyer. But how do you go about divorce mediation, and what can you do to help smooth out the process? TruNorth Divorce Solutions offers a few divorce mediation tips to better set you up for success.
1. Consider divorce mediation
It’s not uncommon for couples involved in uncontested divorces to seek out divorce mediation services as an alternative to shelling out the big bucks for a family law lawyer. In Maryland (and across the United States), divorce mediation is quickly becoming a popular alternative to working with family law attorneys.
The most important divorce tip, once you’ve decided on mediation, is to the first step is to spend some time exploring your local options. Do your research so you know what to expect. A good mediator won’t mind answering questions about their professional experience, services, and metrics of success. Interviewing your mediator during your initial consultation can help you gauge your prospective mediator’s expertise and whether or not they fit your needs.
2. Don’t forget to consider the taxes
Some say taxes are one of the only two things you can’t escape in this life. One of the most common divorce settlement mistakes that divorcing couples make when selling and dividing joint assets—like retirement accounts and the family home—is that they don’t consider the taxes.
Failing to account for tax considerations when dividing marital assets can throw a major wrench into the system despite best intentions. Things aren’t always apples-to-apples and not all retirement accounts are governed by the same tax laws. An experienced divorce mediator can help navigate any tax issues that arise along the way, such as whether or not you need to get a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
3. Get your custody arrangements in writing
When it comes to divorce mediation tips, getting custody arrangements in writing is high on the list. Parents who don’t create a parenting plan ahead of time might get blindsided down the road and getting things in writing will help hold you and your soon-to-be-ex accountable. Taking the time to hash out your co-parenting schedule and expectations can help you avoid future hiccups when it comes to parental duties.
Remember, it’s important to remain flexible and treat your co-parenting plan as an adjustable framework. Schedules may change and dates might need to be shuffled around to accommodate that surprise business trip work sprung on you last minute. It’s a great idea to discuss your summer co-parenting plans yearly.
4. Consider your post-divorce budget
While not a mistake made during the mediation process, post-divorce budgeting is a topic worth touching on. Being realistic about your post-divorce budget is a crucial step for independent financial success.
Unless you were the sole breadwinner bringing that bacon to the table, your household income is going to decrease during the transition from a double to a single income household and your expenses often increase because they’re no longer shared. It’s important to assess your post-divorce finances and make adjustments to account for changes in income and expenses. Be sure to speak with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to help you plan for your future and make the best choices during your divorce.
These are just a few divorce mediation tips to help guide you through some of the pitfalls. Considering divorce mediation? Schedule a free strategy session online.