There is no doubt that divorce is one of the biggest stressors of your life. Being prepared and approaching the mediation process with a constructive attitude can ease some of that anxiety. Here are 3 ways to prepare yourself for your mediation session.
1. Come to mediation prepared to listen, with an open mind
You and your spouse will most likely have different opinions on the ways to resolve some of the issues at stake. Here is the opportunity to talk and explain your preferences. Listen attentively to your spouse’s needs as well. This does not mean that you agree with him/her but please do not interrupt. You will each get your turn. The mediator will help you both fully understand the reason for the other party’s request. If your spouse is uncomfortable having you pick up your child at his/her house, find out “why,” then you may be more open to finding a solution.
2. Be prepared to compromise and show respect for the other party’s opinion despite the fact that you disagree completely!
You and your spouse will have different opinions. There will have to be some negotiation and compromise on both sides. Take some, give some: being a little more open and accepting on one issue will show some good will, and your spouse may be more conciliatory on another issue that is important to you.
3. Come to the table keeping in mind that you are here to work out the terms of your new life.
There was a time when you loved the person that you married. Now you are at odds, no longer able to continue your road together. There may be animosity, anger, disappointment but try to recall that not all is bad about this person, that he/she may be the parent of your children, and that you are both striving for a better and new beginning. If you feel that you failed at your marriage, try to succeed at your divorce. A strange statement? Not really, a more positive attitude will help you make better decisions, allowing both of you to come out of the process with the satisfaction that you did the best you could under these very difficult circumstances.
Clients say that the mediation process is emotional, stressful and exhausting. Certainly it is, but you have both opted to take matters into your own hands, making decisions which best suit the needs of your family. You will definitely feel a sense of accomplishment when it is over!
I have worked with many couples that come in angry with each other, not talking, not even looking at each other. But as the process moves along and they make joint decisions, they often seem to touch, ever so slightly, the friendship that once brought them together. They gave in more on some issues, and they received more on others, creating a balanced and equitable ending.
jennifer safian. divorce and family mediator divorce and family mediation upper east side of manhattan (nyc) new york, ny (212) 472-8626 firstname.lastname@example.org connect on