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How should I behave at divorce mediation?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2023 | Divorce, Mediation

Divorcing Colorado couples might choose mediation as an option for trying to resolve their divorce issues. You might not be interested in mediation, or be convinced that it will not work for you, but mediation might be required, depending on your situation.

Therefore, it is best to have an open mind and give mediation a chance. Many divorcing couples are pleasantly surprised that mediation helped them come to a resolution.

There are many benefits to mediation. It often saves couples money and time. You are also more likely to achieve a satisfactory result since you have some power over the outcome.

Once you have committed to attending mediation, you are probably wondering how you should act at the mediation itself. This is a common question, since many people have never attended a mediation before.

Mind your manners

Be polite and respectful, both to your spouse and the mediator. This could be more difficult than you think, especially if you are coming to the mediation with bitter or hard feelings toward your spouse.

It can help if you remember that mediation is not like courtroom litigation. You are not required to argue your case or prove your arguments with evidence.

Mediation is a chance for you and your spouse to talk over the issues that need resolution and try to come up with creative solutions, with the guidance of a mediator.

Don’t dwell on the negatives

With that in mind, do not use your time at mediation to tell your spouse everything that is wrong with them or blame them for the end of your marriage. This only increases the tension and hard feelings and can reduce their desire to compromise or negotiate.

Additionally, there is no benefit to the mediator knowing or believing that everything is your spouse’s fault. The mediator does not make rulings or decisions like a judge.

Listen and don’t interrupt

You and your spouse will both have a chance to state your positions on the issues. When it is your spouse’s turn, listen carefully. Do not just wait for them to stop talking so you can say what you want.

Do not interrupt them when they are speaking. Interrupting people is rude and can quickly detail an otherwise productive discussion. Write down whatever you wanted to say and wait for your turn to speak.

When you do speak, the way you phrase your words and sentences can make a significant difference in the outcome of the mediation.

Use neutral words and ask questions

Think before you speak and choose your words carefully. Try not to use dramatic or inflammatory language. Ask open-ended questions rather than “yes or no” questions.

For example, if you believe your spouse is not being honest about the value of certain assets, do not call them a liar or fraud. Ask them to clarify how they arrived at that value.

Try to avoid words like “always” or “never.” They are usually never accurate when describing a situation, and result in an unproductive, pointless conversation.

Divorce mediation is not always successful, but going in with the right attitude can make a huge difference in the outcome. Divorce attorneys provide mediation advice and can even attend the mediation with you.