Simply put, separating or divorcing from a spouse or partner – no matter what the circumstances may be – sucks. When an intimate relationship breaks down, it’s always a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved. However, in the context of divorce proceedings, mediation is (often) a wonderful thing. Mediation is a process where you and your ex (usually with the assistance of your respective lawyers) attend before an experienced, neutral third party, who provides assistance to you and your ex in resolving your outstanding legal issues.
Do you have an upcoming divorce mediation? Are you nervous, scared and / or just not sure what to expect? If so, you’ve come to the right place. The following are a few tips & tricks to help you get through the day (or days) of mediation:
- Go in with an open mind. The whole point of mediation is that both you and your ex are willing to discuss and work with each other in order to resolve the outstanding legal issues between you. Mediation is about compromise, fairness and efficiency. While you should have a general idea of what you can (or can’t) live without, be open to reasonable proposals and try to avoid any unreasonable stubbornness.
- Keep calm & stay respectful. At some points during a mediation, your ex may say things that, in your view, are not accurate or are hurtful. The mediator or lawyers may even say things or voice opinions that you don’t agree with. However, even if you feel that something said by someone else needs to be corrected, don’t interrupt and wait for your turn to speak. You will be given an opportunity to say your piece and you will be more effective if you do so calmly and respectfully. Don’t point fingers or lay blame – what is in the past is in the past, the focus in the mediation is to resolve the present issues in order to enhance your future. Try to avoid getting angry or emotional & if you feel yourself getting upset, take a few deep breaths and then implement point #3 below.
- TAKE A BREAK IF YOU NEED IT! If at any point during the mediation you feel like it’s all just too much, TAKE A BREAK! There is absolutely nothing wrong with politely asking for a bathroom break, or for a few minutes to take a walk. If you need to, get out of the mediation room for a few minutes to clear your head.
- Bring snacks. Some law offices have complimentary snacks, but there is no guarantee as to the quality or availability of free munchies. Moreover, if progress is being made and you are “on a roll”, the mediator may suggest that you work through lunch. Being hangry while trying to negotiate is a no-no. Calories don’t count during mediation. Bring reinforcements to help get you through the day.
- Wear something comfortable! Don’t show up to mediation wearing pajamas or sweatpants, but also don’t wear something that is going to be itch-y, pinch-y and horribly uncomfortable all day. You want to make a good impression on the Mediator and show that you are taking the mediation seriously, but this isn’t Court, or the Met Gala. Business casual is usually just perfect.
If you have questions about your family law matter or the mediation process, contact one of the experienced lawyers at Vogel LLP today for more information.