If you are considering a divorce or are already in the process of one, it is important to know about mediation and how it can help. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that can be used in family law cases.
1) Come with an Open Mind
One of the key factors in a successful mediation is being open-minded. To begin with, you must understand why your spouse wants to use mediation instead of going through traditional litigation. Although this may seem counterintuitive, one reason could be because they know that mediation works and has helped other families get their lives back on track after divorce. Also, if you are the one who wants to use mediation instead of traditional litigation, understanding why your spouse is resistant can help. Perhaps they do not want to be open to new ideas or methods. Regardless of whose idea it was in the first place, both parties should enter with an open mind and focus on what’s best for your future and that of your children.
2) Have the Right People in the Room
Another important factor for a successful mediation is who is in the room with you. The parties should enter the process with realistic expectations, and they need to know whether their kids will be included. Is it even appropriate for your children to participate? Having the right people in the room ensures that you receive the advice and feedback that you need during this time. Also, mediation is a confidential process, which means that your spouse’s attorney will not be present. The mediator will keep the discussion on track and help you focus on the best possible outcome for you and your family. The right mediator will also take care of all administrative tasks, including sending out notices, keeping the process organized, and collecting all of your paperwork.
3) Communication is Important
As mediation is a process, communication between the parties involved is vital. Clear communication can help create an environment where both parties can conclude that they are comfortable while maintaining good relationships for the future. In addition, clear communication is crucial for the mediator to effectively guide the discussion and help you come up with an agreement that works.
4) Have a Goal in Mind
Just as important as clear communication is knowing your goals and writing them down before entering into mediation. If both parties have a general idea of where they want to end up, it can help them to focus on the issues at hand. A written list of goals for each party is very helpful when it comes time to review agreements. Also, it is crucial, to be honest with yourself and your spouse as you go into mediation. If some things have to change for you or that you will not budge on, say so.
5) Put Your Children First
When going through a difficult process such as divorce, outside influences often come into play that can further complicate matters. These factors can include your extended family, your spouse’s extended family, and the children themselves. Although these people are important in your life, you should make sure that you keep them out of the mediation process when possible. Your children deserve to have both parents focused on their needs during this time.