EXACTLY WHAT IS MEDIATION?
IS MEDIATION FOR ME?
Mediation is an anti-court, divorce settlement process. It provides in-meeting negotiation guidance to disputing parties who hope to avoid a court fight.
The spouses meet with a neutral and impartial person (a mediator) who helps them communicate with one another in a level-headed way that disputants typically find difficult to achieve on their own. Mediators are trained to manage and defuse hostility and to keep negotiations headed in the right direction. They do not allow the participants’ personalities or emotions to get in the way of settlement.
Mediators have no power to make decisions; their role is simply to help the spouses create their own mutually acceptable resolution. In doing so, they use a variety of persuasion techniques that create and maintain a negotiation climate, which is conducive to settlement.
Divorce mediation is like a negotiation seeing-eye dog that guides you toward settlement and away from divorce court. It walks you safely through a minefield of sensitivity with many unseen detonators that can easily destroy your chances of ever reaching an out of court settlement.
Most of us are challenged when it comes discussing a divorce settlement with our soon-to-be-exes. No one can press our buttons like our spouse can. If we want them to hear our side and to comprehend why our settlement position is what it is, we must open their ears and their thinking. Primarily, this involves not aggravating them, and this is that mediation makes possible.
Mediation allows us to say what we have to say without stirring up our partner. Why is it important to try to avoid aggravating our spouse? Because angry people do not settle, they fight. Fighting is for courtrooms and mediation is for staying out of courtrooms.
Most mediators are lawyers or licensed health professionals. Whatever their background or discipline, the typically undergo additional training in order to become proficient in mediation techniques.
When mediation was first introduced, the community of divorce lawyers – ourselves included – said it didn’t have enough teeth to be effective in divorce cases. We felt that it provided little incentive to disputants to accept terms that they were opposed to accepting, and that we needed the power of the court system to decide who should pay or give what to whom.
We were wrong. It took some time, but mediation has flourished. Its success is now indisputable. It has gone on to help thousands of couples make it through the divorce process in a healthier, less destructive, less costly and more dignified manner.
Mediation is not for everyone. It typically works only when both of the soon-to-be ex-spouses are reasonable people, and when both are generally accepting of the fact that the marriage is ending.
We define a “reasonable person” as someone who is capable of seeing the other spouse’s position. They do not have to agree with the other spouse, they merely have to have the ability to see why that person thinks the way they do.
Mediation will likely be unsuccessful if one of the parties is difficult or confrontational by nature, emotionally challenged, has an exaggerated sense of entitlement, or is otherwise impaired when it comes to compromising.
INTRODUCTION TO MEDIATION OFFICE VISIT
These private office visits are free of charge, and usually take about 30 minutes.
We find that many members of the public have been told that Mediation is the way to go, but that they do not really understand what Mediation is or how it works. These meetings are intended to explain Mediation’s pluses and minuses. They are for spouses who are contemplating divorce, and have indicated to us that they are primarily interested in the Mediation approach. These meetings are of assistance to those who don’t want to commit blindly to mediation without first learning what it entails.
How can one be expected to decide on Mediation without first knowing what it is and how it works?
We typically meet with both spouses, and explain everything they need to know (from A to Z) in order for them to proceed wisely, comfortably, and in an economically prudent fashion.