Parties are resolving divorce-related matters through mediation at increasing rates. This is an alternative method of dispute resolution that allows parties to stay out of the courtroom and maintain more control over the outcome.
If you expect to mediate at least some domestic issues, it is wise to prepare. One way to do this is to familiarize yourself with strategies that can make successful mediation more likely. We examine some of these strategies below.
Tips for making mediation a success
- Learn about the basic elements of mediation
- Arrive at sessions on time and prepared
- Be patient and understand that it can take multiple sessions to reach agreements
- Listen to the other party
- Keep an open mind about the process
- Be serious about finding solutions and enter the sessions in good faith
- Work with an attorney to familiarize yourself with basic family laws
- Try to keep your expectations realistic
- Focus on moving forward rather than trying to make up for the past
- Be willing (and prepared) to negotiate for what you want, but also be willing to compromise
These tips can help a person approach mediation pragmatically, which can make it easier to find agreeable solutions. They can also help you display a sense of confidence and cooperation, which sets a powerful tone when it comes to negotiating difficult matters.
What to avoid
In addition to the things you should do during mediation, there are things you will want to avoid if you want to improve the chances that mediation will be successful. In general, you should avoid:
- Telling lies and making false allegations
- Refusing to compromise
- Trying to manipulate or coerce the other party into an agreement
- Making unreasonable offers
- Badmouthing the other party to your kids, your family or online
These actions and behaviors can make the other party angry and display an unwillingness to find cooperative solutions. Under these circumstances, mediation may no longer be an option and parties may have to go to court.
Reaching agreements in mediation may not be easy, especially in the context of a divorce. However, with these tips and the support of experienced legal counsel, you can be well-positioned to pursue the desired outcome.