How To Reach An Agreement Using The Mediation Process
Going through a separation / divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful events anyone can experience. A good mediator will be there to assist you in maximizing the control you have over your situation. All good divorce mediators know, the best way to feel in control is to have all the information and knowledge required to make informed decisions. Being properly educated about the mediation process will ensure you are able to make the best possible choices for you and your family. Read on to find out Calgary family lawyer’s best tips for mediation.
Attack The Problem, Not The Party
Attacks on the other party do not lead to agreement; they lead to defensiveness, delay and counterattacks. Remember, you are actually a team. You are trying to reach an agreement, which can only be done together. Your spouse must say yes before you can get there. As such, you are really working together to solve the issues, you are not battling each other, you are battling the problems.
Focus On The Outcome
Focus on the needs, interests and concerns instead of the final outcome. Being positional leads the other party to become defensive, it limits creative thinking and flexibility, all of which are impediments to settlement.
Do Not Engage in Destructive Behaviour
Remain focused and effective in spite of whatever the other party says or does. Your spouse may well say or do something to “push your buttons” but you should remain calm, review your options and then decide what to say or do. Your spouse being difficult only makes it more important for you to be effective to achieve the goals of a mutually agreeable resolution notwithstanding their weakness.
Work Toward A Constructive And Fair Agreement
Listen carefully and try to understand where they other party is coming from. The better you understand the other party’s view, the more easily you can address their needs and reach an agreement. Remember understanding what your spouse is saying does not mean that you agree with their view. Try to follow up a concern (either your own, or your spouse’s) with a constructive suggestion as to how it might be resolved.
Commit To The Development Of Choices And Alternatives
Respond to proposals by asking questions about the proposal, saying “Yes”, “No” or “I’ll think about it”. Avoid insulting the idea. Try to come up with at least three different options for the resolution of a particular issue that you believe could work for both of you.
Speak only for yourself and use “I” statements. Focus on the future. You and your spouse could likely argue about the past for hours without making any progress. You do not need to reach an agreement about the past, only what happens from this point forward. Before you say or do anything, ask yourself if it will be effective in advancing toward your goal of settling matters. Remember, in order to reach a settlement, the deal must be acceptable to your spouse as well as to you.
Respect The Process
It can be very frustrating to need to go through a whole process in order to get to the same result you would have gotten to if your spouse had just said yes in the first place. However, your spouse may not feel able to do just say yes and may need to have process needs met before being in a position to say yes to an agreement. It may be that your spouse needs to see financial statements, consult an accountant, appraiser, etc. in order to find something acceptable.
Take time before the meeting to consider what is most important to you and to anticipate what is most important to the other party. Exchange financial documentation in advance whenever possible.
Some delays may occur even when everyone is acting in good faith. Your spouse may not process information or make decisions as quickly as you do but an agreeable resolution can still be achieved. Taking the time to gather all the facts, explore each other’s interests and generate options will lead to a settlement that is acceptable to both parties and tailored to your particular needs.
You Are In Control
You can just say “No” to anything that is not acceptable to you. Empower yourself by taking responsibility for your feelings, interests and choices, rather than holding the other person responsible.
Disclaimer: The content provided in the blog posts of Jones Divorce & Family Law is general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice tailored to your specific situation. All articles are current as of their original publication date.