Divorce is often resolved through negotiation. Whether you realize it or not, we negotiate every day of our lives. We negotiate with our kids, our bosses, our friends, our siblings and so on. We broker deals so we can gain a favorable outcome from the proceedings. It’s a natural skill set we often forget we possess during divorce proceedings because emotions begin to take over and dictate the actions of the parties involved.
That’s when blunders are made. Keeping your cool and tapping into your natural ability to negotiate can often make or break a divorce mediation.
Mediators have an important job. They help us to settle our disputes by providing a voice of reason. They help us to efficiently communicate and ultimately work out a deal that works for all parties involved.
However, properly conducting yourself can certainly help you during the mediation process. Conducting yourself in an unbecoming manner can only hurt you. With that being said, here are some do’s and don’ts to consider during the mediation process.
Offer something in return for something else
Making demands without offering something in return rarely works. In fact, it will often prompt the other party into becoming more combative during the mediation process. Making an effort to meet your spouse halfway is a step in the right direction of having a successful outcome.
Focus on areas where you agree
It’s unavoidable you will have areas where you don’t agree. However, shifting the focus of the process on the things you do agree upon will make the process that much easier. It will demonstrate you can agree and be cooperative. Inevitably, when you come upon a subject about which you don’t agree, you already have a precedent of working through previous issues.
Be prepared to concede on certain topics
You can’t win every fight. If you notice a petty disagreement is delaying the mediation, it may be best to swallow your pride and concede the point. That action will show your spouse you’re willing to work through the situation even if it isn’t wholly going your way.
Put yourself in the shoes of your spouse
Would you accept the deal you’re trying to make? Is it fair to both you and your spouse? Looking at it from this perspective will guide you to make decisions that are fair for both parties.
Make it clear you’re interested in resolving the dispute without further litigation
No one wants a lengthy court battle. That’s why so many people find divorce mediation to be the preferable method. Make it clear from the beginning you intend on solving your dispute through mediation. That way your spouse is aware of your intentions.
Don’t resort to name-calling or slinging insults
No matter how much you despise the other person, name calling and insults are never welcomed during a mediation session. Furthermore, it’s counterproductive. One insult could undo weeks of work and set you back to square one.
Don’t make absolute statements
Absolute statements mean it’s either your way or no way at all. That doesn’t leave your spouse any room to negotiate and will only lead to more bickering. Always leave your spouse some wiggle room to negotiate.
Leave old arguments outside
Bringing up arguments from the past will bring up old emotions that have no place in a mediation session. Leave your old arguments at the door. Your time with a divorce mediator shouldn’t be consumed by bickering about arguments from the past.
Don’t trigger your spouse on purpose
You likely know exactly what to say to make your spouse go into a blind rage. Even if you’re at a point of disagreement, you should never purposely say something to set your spouse off. Be mindful of their feelings, and the mediation process will go much smoother.
Don’t interrupt your spouse when they’re speaking
Cutting your spouse off or speaking over them is rude. Let them have their say even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying. Don’t worry. The mediator will ensure you’ll have more than enough time to speak.
Don’t ignore your spouse’s concerns on a particular subject
Hear everything your spouse has to say. If they have a concern, hear them out. If you let them know you’re willing to listen to what they have to say, they will likely be more receptive to your concerns as well.