First, congratulations if you have chosen to resolve your separation or divorce through mediation as it is by far the better way almost every time. Now that you have made this very wise choice for your family's future, you are probably feeling a bit anxious or nervous about how things will go. However, if you follow these 6 easy tips for your first divorce mediation session, you will see just how smoothly your mediation can go, beyond your wildest expectations:
1. If children are involved, be prepared to ALWAYS place their best interests first in all decisions you and your spouse make. Chances are that since you opted for mediation, you are already on board with this idea.
2. Make sure you stay on friendly terms with your spouse at all times. This can sometimes be challenging, especially if you are still living under the same roof, but taking the high road with a little bit of civility up front will go a long way later on.
3. Always show respect for your spouse's point of view. Since it is rare to agree on everything before you get to mediation, be prepared to disagree with your spouse on some things but make sure you really listen to what your spouse is saying and regard his/her opinions with the same importance as your own.
4. Refrain from any substantive discussion about what you each expect to receive in your settlement, or what you are entitled to under the law. Before these issues are resolved, your mediator will discuss with you all your important rights and entitlements under the law so that you can together make informed decisions that are most sensible for your family.
5. Make sure you have provided all the necessary documentation and information well in advance so that your mediator can be thoroughly prepared for the first meeting. Remember that mediation requires work, effort and responsibility on the part of both spouses if you wish to obtain the best result possible.
6. Just relax and take a deep breath. Trust that although separation and divorce is never easy and always involves some stress, your stress level will be greatly minimized if you approach your mediation with the proper frame of mind.
A couple can come to their own agreement about property settlement, which the court will generally accept. The Pennsylvania court will decide if either spouse is entitled to alimony, based on age, physical and mental condition, earning potential, duration of the marriage and standard of living. The court decides the duration of alimony, but support ends automatically if the one receiving it remarries or cohabits.
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