Suppose you are considering mediating your divorce or have already made an appointment with your attorney or mediator. In that case, you may want to consider some behaviors to adopt and avoid during your mediation so that you can get the best results:
- Attend your mediation expecting to “win.”
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution aimed at resolving conflict in a less adversarial way. Whether you are there to mediate issues involving assets or custody and support arrangements, mediation has no winners and losers.
- Adopt a “me against you” attitude toward your spouse
Mediation is most effective when the parties see each other on the same side. For example, if you are negotiating issues involving custody of a child, it would be wise to remember that your child is not responsible for the divorce, you are both the child’s parents, and you both want what is best for the child. This way, the focus shifts from fighting through problems to solving problems.
- Become aggressive
It is easy for emotions to run high in any divorce proceeding, and mediation is no exception. It is better to be prepared for this by reminding yourself before the mediation that you will have feelings pop up at certain times and that it does not mean you have to react. Likewise, you can practice using tools like breathing or writing things down as a distraction to avoid an overreaction that could derail your efforts.
- Attack your mediator
Your mediator is there to help you. Mediators are trained to manage high-conflict situations, including divorces, using various tools, and they know what they are doing. Rest assured that your mediator is not there to judge you- on the contrary, they are there to help you and your soon-to-be former spouse hopefully reach an agreement that you are both comfortable signing.
- Lie or omit information
One required element for a successful mediation is acting in good faith toward the other party and everyone involved. Mediation has many benefits and can save you money and time, but for a mediation agreement to work -and stick- long-term, honesty and good faith are essential.
Mediation can be highly effective if the parties are committed to collaborating or at least willing to allow the mediator to facilitate – and sometimes lead – the mediation session so that all parties can get the most of what mediation offers.