Family mediation is the best way to resolve disputes related to the breakdown of a marriage. Arguments over issues like child custody or property settlement can be much more quickly and fairly resolved when disputing parties agree to sit down and work through the disagreement to find a compromise they can both be happy with. Successful family mediation is always less expensive, time-consuming, and stressful than going to court.
However, this process does require that both parties take it seriously and go into it with the right mindset. If one or both parties are unwilling to cooperate, the process will ultimately be a waste of time.
With this in mind, here are six tips for quick and successful family mediation.
1. Make sure both parties are prepared.
For the family mediation process to be efficient, both parties need to be prepared with everything needed to facilitate meaningful dialogue. This includes having copies of any relevant paperwork and being willing to openly discuss the issues at hand. If one or both parties aren’t adequately prepared, it can lead to unnecessary delays, frustration, and even the breakdown of the entire process. Avoid this by being as prepared as possible.
2. Create a respectful setting.
The family mediation process will be more successful if both parties feel respected. This means creating a safe and respectful setting where both parties feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. This can be done by ensuring both parties have equal time to speak and by avoiding anything that could escalate the situation, such as name-calling or raised voices.
3. Come with an open mind.
Family mediation almost always means compromise, which can be difficult for some people. It’s important to go into the process with an open mind and be willing to budge on some issues. If both parties are inflexible, it’s likely the negotiation will break down, and you will both have to resort to more traditional (and costly) methods, such as litigation.
4. Keep an open line of communication.
Family mediation is all about effective communication. This means both parties need to be willing to communicate openly with each other during the process. If there are any misunderstandings, they should be addressed immediately. This open line of communication should continue even after the mediation is over to make sure the family can effectively resolve any future disagreements.
5. Try not to bring up past grievances during sessions.
The family mediation process is focused on the present and future, not the past. Bringing up past grievances will only serve to escalate the situation and make it more difficult to find a resolution. If there are issues from the past that need to be addressed, do so in a separate session or at a later time.
6. Remember why you are there.
It can be difficult to confront and negotiate with someone you have a lot of mixed emotions tied up with. Feelings of a broken heart and betrayal are common in divorce situations, and it’s understandable why it isn’t easy to see past those emotions.
However, if you want family mediation to work, you need to avoid letting these emotions guide your judgment. Think about the life you want to have after the divorce is resolved and focus on that rather than trying to get the last laugh. It’s not about winning; it’s about getting the fairest resolution so both parties can move on with their lives. This is especially important if you have children, as their future will be worse if you and your ex are still bickering while trying to co-parent.