Common Mistakes to Avoid During Mediation
When people think of divorce, they often think of long, drawn-out courtroom sessions with insults flung across the room while the judge calls for order with their gavel. Fortunately, that specific scenario only happens on rare occasions. Like many things in life, divorce varies greatly from person to person. That isn’t to say that there isn’t conflict. Even the most amicable separation can result in some hostility when the two parties cannot find common ground and reach an agreement. However, in many cases, litigation isn’t necessary. Instead, couples work through the details of their divorce agreement through a process called mediation.
Mediation Can Help You Find Compromise
In divorce mediation, you, your spouse, your respective attorneys, and a neutral mediator go section by section to ensure everyone is on the same page. Mediation isn’t a magical spell that will spirit away all your disagreements, but with the involvement of a skilled mediator, you can find ways to compromise and ensure that both parties walk out of the divorce with a fair deal. Even in the event of a heated divorce, mediation can be an effective solution. In fact, because of the manner in which a divorce agreement is created during mediation, these agreements have a much higher success rate in the long term than those borne of litigation. Mediation is also much more affordable for everyone involved.
That being said, there is still a fair amount of misinformation surrounding the process of mediation, and there are a few mistakes that people often make that serve to complicate the process or paint themselves in a negative light. To that end, the legal team at Bickford Blado & Botros has discussed some of the most common mistakes people make when proceeding with divorce mediation and putting together a helpful resource. Below you will find three things you should aim to do when attending mediation, followed by three things you should avoid.
- Adjust Your Expectations and Check Your Mindset
Mediation involves a lot of back and forth communication. Don’t expect to have everything resolved on day one. Realize that you will have plenty of opportunities to make yourself heard, so there is no need to put up a defensive wall every time your spouse suggests something you don’t like. The more willing you are to negotiate and work through your differences, the more productive your interactions will be.
- Keep Things in Perspective
This can be especially difficult when there are children involved, as emotion can easily cloud our judgment. In the moment, it’s hard to think past how you’ll be spending your holidays or what it will feel like to live alone after being married. But remember that you are attempting to plan your future and the future of your child and that your decisions should be based on what is best for both of you in the long run, not just what feels right in this very moment.
- Prioritize Your Concerns
For mediation to be successful, it’s important to remain open and flexible to your spouse’s opinions. However, this can be difficult if you find yourself disagreeing on every subject brought into the conversation. While you might feel that all these are valid points, there are likely some that you feel much more strongly about than others. Sitting with your attorney and identifying which areas you consider most important will allow you to afford greater flexibility in other areas, which will go a long way toward facilitating a mutually beneficial agreement.
Avoid These Mediation No-Nos
- Don’t Try to Exclude any Relevant Information
Depending on how your assets and finances are split, you may feel tempted to avoid sharing certain things with your mediator. This is often not malicious, as people fail to realize that the information they’re failing to disclose is relevant. Mediators are trained to help you achieve the best and fairest result for all parties involved, but they cannot operate on misinformation. To ensure the process goes well, you must provide your mediator with all the information they need, including your finances.
- Don’t Vent on Social Media
If you’ve had a particularly rough session and feel that your spouse is more unyielding than usual, you might be tempted to vent about your feelings on social media. However, even if you attempt to obfuscate by excluding details of your situation, your spouse is likely to uncover your posts eventually. Not only is this unlikely to help you communicate better with each other, if the case should go to litigation, the court will not look kindly upon someone who appears to be acting in poor judgment.
- Don’t Treat Mediation Like Litigation
Finally, it’s essential to remember that this is not a courtroom, and your mediator is not a judge. Attempting to prove who is in the right and who’s wrong is simply a waste of time for everyone involved. The mediator’s job is to be a neutral party and help you find a mutually agreeable resolution, not determine who deserves what. Treating your mediation like litigation is the surest way to ensure you do end up before a judge.
Our Team Can Answer Your Questions
Keeping these tips in mind will go a long way toward ensuring that your mediation is as productive and helpful as possible while minimizing the possibility of hostility and aggression between you and your spouse. If you are concerned about other aspects of mediation, the team at Bickford Blado & Botros has extensive experience handling mediation in divorce cases and can answer any questions you might have.
Even with all that information, however, it’s still possible that mediation will not be the solution you’re looking for. There are, unfortunately, limitations to what you can do, and if your spouse is unwilling to offer any flexibility or is continually openly hostile, then mediation may not be possible. If that’s the case, it’s important to have a legal team at your side that is prepared to handle your case in court. Regardless of how the case unfolds, Bickford Blado & Botros are prepared to do the work and ensure your case is properly presented to the courts. To get started, contact us today via our website, or give us a call at 858-793-8884.
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