Oneforthree wrote:Best suggestion I have is define your goals, know what you can stomach, and try to get it before you leave.
I agree. You should be aware that most cases don't make it to court and end in mediation. Make your list of must have's and things you can negotiate away. Bring it with you, but don't show it to anyone except maybe your attorney.
You should attempt to mediate as many things as possible. For example, you may agree on legal custody, but not the custody schedule or financial settlement. Should you have to litigate certain issues, it is to your benefit to go into court with as many issues settled as possible. It will reduce your legal fees.
To share my mediation experiences, I've done it 3 times:
1. For the divorce mediation, we were in separate rooms. The mediator was an X-Judge (who got ousted because she got drunk and naked at some official party). We were in separate rooms. She went back and forth and we were there for about 4 hours. She spent a lot more time with the NJ than with me and made several comments to make me feel good about the mediation. I got 50/50 and was ok with that but I really didn't know what I was doing. I should have gotten primary if I was informed.
2. We went for a modification. Same mediator, separate rooms. I was pretty sure mediation wouldn't work, and I was there about 30 minutes. The mediator told me I would lose my case in court and I still refused to give everything up. I took my case to court and the mediator was right. I lost.
3. We went to the courthouse mediator. I asked for separate rooms, but the mediator said she wouldn't do that unless things got ugly. We mediated for about 2 hours and I got about 90% of what I wanted. The mediator was very good, but she wasn't a lawyer. Again, she mostly spent her time explaining things to the X, and how things would be and I sat back and said yes, or no, and that I'd be happy to take that issue to the judge if we can't agree and move on to the next thing. I was amazed at her ability to convince the NJ to sign off on stuff. I thanked her profusely after the mediation.