What is mediation?  Envision a situation where you and your spouse sit in a conference room with a neutral third party that will assist you both in divorce negotiations with the goal of reaching a settlement.  This is mediation. The mediator will not advocate for either of you and you should not rely upon the mediator to provide you with your State’s law. 
 
Always educate yourself prior to your scheduled mediation because you are best equipped to negotiate when you not only know your rights, but you know your spouse’s rights. You will have a better sense of what is fair.  Is it worth fighting against something that you know your spouse wants that your spouse is legally entitled to? 
 
I use the word “rights” in the legal sense; I mean those rights bestowed upon you by the law.  However, we also know that there are self-appointed “personal rights”, those rights that we feel we are entitled to outside of the law.  Those personal rights can involve a sense of repayment based upon how much time your spouse spent out of the house and away from you, or how many times you had to go without sex, or how many nights your spouse went out with his/her friends. 
 
But, to be frank, the law does not provide compensation for the daily intricacies (annoyances) of your marriage. However, even if the law does not compensate you, it does not mean that it is not a very real issue for you because it’s usually those issues that ultimately resulted in the ending of your marriage.  
The law does not address the handling of emotions such as anger, disappointment, or resentment.  However, your emotions are still legitimate. You and your spouse are the only two people in the world who honestly know how your marriage has worked, what has transpired, who compromised, and how and why it has come to an end. You two are the only ones gifted with this intimate knowledge. 
 
There is beauty in negotiation and in exploring the ability to tailor a settlement that suits both of your needs.  This works well with open, honest, direct, and peaceful communications with your spouse.  Can you balance the legal rights vs. personal rights?  It requires a “give” and “take”. 
 
You should both explore what a fair settlement feels and looks like between the two of you, and then look at it from a legal point of view. Is there a middle ground? Does that middle ground suit each of your needs?  Or do you steadfastly follow the law?  Your creativity will likely produce a solution for both of you, that works and feels right. 
 
Mediation will allow you to investigate and gather a greater understanding of your spouse’s desires in a settlement. 
What is his/her goal?  
In a written settlement, the exchanges may not be dollar or dollar, but the value may be in the degree of the sentiment. Regardless of what value you place on an item, do not employ a method that only serves to deprive your spouse of something.  This means that you should leave spite at the door for spite is met with spite.  Like attracts like.  Go to the table with an understanding of each other’s sacrifices, a flexible desired outcome, an intention to settle and a desire to do so peacefully
Love begins with you.