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Mediation: three things to avoid

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce, Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

Mediation can be a highly effective way of solving conflict, and many courts use it. Even though it is more informal than going to court, mediation still requires preparation.

People who do not understand mediation can make common mistakes that significantly negatively impact mediation outcomes.

Things to avoid doing before or in mediation

1. Avoid showing up unprepared

This is, perhaps, one of the most common mistakes people make. Many believe mediation is nothing more than a talking session where they can accomplish nothing of substance, which is untrue.

All parties who attend mediation must understand what mediation is, know what they want to accomplish in their mediation, have all relevant documents organized and ready and show an attitude of willingness to compromise.

2. Forget that mediation is not about winning

Mediation is not about winning or losing. The purpose of mediation is for the parties to have a discussion about their objectives and their willingness to compromise with the assistance of a trained mediator and occasionally the parties’ attorneys.

It is critical to remember that while mediation is not binding, an agreement you reach in mediation can be binding if all parties agree to it.

3. Allow your emotions to run the show

Divorce, custody and family law matters generally tend to be highly emotional. People can expect to experience strong emotions during mediation. However, it is critical to be aware of this before attending mediation so that you can prepare yourself and make a plan to manage those emotions.

Emotional outbursts can derail the conversation, making it harder for everyone to agree. Take a breath, ask for a break and be prepared to feel emotions pop up during your mediation session.

Mediation is a valuable tool in divorce and child custody matters. The parties, however, must understand the purpose of mediation and be ready to use this tool to benefit themselves and reach an agreement.