Mediation can be a powerful and effective option for the divorce process as an alternative to traditional divorce. We’ve previously discussed what divorcing couples can expect during the mediation process and some best practices for preparing for mediation. Statistics show that nearly 90% of divorce mediation cases are settled successfully with the implementation of these dos and don’ts.
Do Set the Tone for Cooperation
Chances are, you have chosen to try mediation because you don’t want to have the terms of your divorce decided in a courtroom by a judge. In taking that step, you have already chosen cooperation over combat. In order to have the most successful mediation possible, try to be selective about the battles you choose to fight. If you are willing to collaborate on something seemingly small, you can establish a conciliatory environment and set precedence for compromising from the beginning.
Don’t Keep a Tally
Mediation isn’t about wins or losses, so try not to keep a running score of everything that goes exactly the way you wanted. When you avoid approaching this process like a competition, you can begin to see the other party as someone you need to work alongside to reach the finish line rather than an adversary you have to beat to get there.
Do Express Emotion
In a high-conflict situation, it’s the meditator’s job to scratch through the surface and uncover what the real issue is. Most often, high-conflict divorces are rooted in emotional and relational issues that go beyond the substantive issues being negotiated over in the terms of the divorce.
When going through a divorce, each individual often has crafted their own narrative of how their marriage ended and who is to blame, which can impact their perspective on what the terms of the divorce should be. If both parties are willing, the mediator can create a safe and open environment for them to acknowledge their emotions and lead them to write a new story for themselves with a much happier ending that’s fair to everyone.
Mediation is most successful when divorcing couples are encouraged to maintain their personal autonomy and responsibility for their own emotions and decisions. The right mediator will be conscious of all of these feelings and help the couple be heard, understood, and channel these emotions into decision-making that will help both parties to heal and move on.
Don’t Use the Kids as Collateral
When you’re angry with or have been hurt by your spouse, it’s difficult to see beyond wanting to them to also feel that pain. Also, when you are faced with the potential reality of not having your kids in your home full-time, it might be equally as difficult to see a reality where your child spends part of their time in another house.
A mediator’s job is to help guide you through these overwhelming emotions toward a solution for your kids that leads them to a happy, healthy life in two homes. Mediators help you think past what you want and focus on what your child needs.
At Shafer Law Firm, we have several skilled attorneys happy to assist you and answer any questions about divorce that you may have. Contact us for more information.
About the Author: Elizabeth L. Spadafore
Elizabeth was raised in Meadville, PA and was a local small business owner before attending Duquesne University School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctorate degree in 2010. She focuses her practice on family law matters such as divorce, custody and support. Her background as former County Solicitor for Crawford County Children and Youth services, combined with her experience in bankruptcy actions and personal injury actions, allows her to successfully navigate matters that are both highly sensitive and legally complex.
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