5 Tips for Successful Divorce Mediation
The basic idea behind mediation is that a mediator will help guide two (or more) parties towards finding a solution which is acceptable to both of them. As such, the success of mediation largely depends on the willingness of the two parties to work towards finding a solution.
With that in mind, here are five tips to consider during the divorce mediation process to ensure the best chance of success.
Take care of yourself during the entirety of the proceedings
Mediation is a serious process and the decisions taken as a result of the mediation process can impact a person’s life for many years to come. In fact, if they involve children the impact can, literally, extend over a person’s whole life.
That means that the mediation process needs to be treated as seriously as any other major event such as an important client meeting, a job interview, or an exam. Both participants should ensure that they take sufficient care of themselves to be able to participate actively, which means that, as a minimum they should be alert enough to focus, think clearly and communicate.
They should not, be half-asleep, inebriated, hungover or generally under the weather due to poor diet and lack of exercise.
NB: if you are really unwell or not in a condition to make the most of a mediation session it’s usually best to save everyone’s time, energy and frustration and cancel it.
Really think about what you want in good time for each session
Mediation sessions can go a whole lot more smoothly if the participants enter into the discussion with a clear idea of what they actively want (rather than what they don’t want) and ideally with some awareness of what the other party is likely to want and where compromises might be made (on either or both sides).
Be aware of everyone’s emotions, including your own
In many cases, taking emotions out of divorce is close to impossible. Instead, be prepared to recognize them.
You don’t have to embrace them, especially not since the nature of divorce means that most emotions will probably be negative ones, but you do have to be realistic about the fact that they are there and that your partner is entitled to feel emotional too.
Remember that mediation is essentially about negotiation
Every negotiation has to start somewhere and it is entirely possible that it will start with one party making a suggestion which you feel is entirely unreasonable. You obviously don’t have to accept it but you shouldn’t take the suggestion as a sign that the other party is just going through the motions of mediation rather than being serious about it.
Take the suggestion on its own terms and see where it leads you, hopefully this will be to something you both find acceptable.
Ask for more time if you need it
Never take important decisions in a rush. If you feel you need more time to think about something then just say so.