Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making the Most of Mediation

Mediation is an extremely effective means to settle family law disputes.  In mediation, both parties concerns and objectives are put on the "table" to be addressed.  Mediation does not determine who is right or who is wrong-- (and it is almost never a matter of who is right or wrong--) but how to solve the problem.  In the mediation session, the mediator is going to work with you both to help you find a mutual solution to your dispute.  Here are 10 helpful hints to get ready for a successful mediation session.

1.  Bring pictures of your children to the mediation and put them on the mediation table.

2.  Make a list of the reasons why you want the mediation to work.

3.  Make a list of why you chose mediation.

4.  Make a list of why you didn't want to go to court.

5.  Be open to sharing your ideas and opinions in mediation. 

6.  Be willing to listen even if you don't agree.

7.  Keep an open mind-- the first idea or proposal might not work, but it's second, third or even fourth revision might be the middle ground you and the other party CAN agree upon.

8.  Try not to make assumptions.

9.  Focus on the future.  We often don't want to believe in change because we can only think about how things have been in the past.  If we keep looking back for reasons why an idea/plan/schedule, etc., won't work, we will never be open for the possibility that we can make it work.  Instead, bring to the table your concerns so that they can be addressed. 

10.  Be patient.  It takes time to get through all the issues and some take more time than others.  A good agreement may take time to reach.