HOW DOES MEDIATION WORK?
It is hard to imagine how this process will work when you have been embroiled in a conflict. Most divorcing couples tend to fall into the same fights over and over again — but that is why a neutral third person can help.
Mediation is a process used for resolving conflict. As your mediator, I can help you move through the issues and find new ground for resolution.
I am neutral. I won’t take sides with you against your spouse, or with your spouse against you. Instead, I will work with you to increase your understanding of each other and of your conflict. I will not make decisions for you — only you will decide what is best for your future.
Conflict is painful. Most people have a drive to resolve it. When people understand the sources of conflict, there is a huge release of creative energy which leads to terrific brainstorming sessions about how to solve the problem and end the conflict.
I begin work with people by identifying all of the unresolved issues. We have a detailed checklist that we go through to identify where there is already agreement, and where we need additional information and/or discussion. Each person gets to tell me his/her side of the story, so that I can hear as much as possible about why you came to see me. I give each person a pad of paper and a pen so that the other person can write down their ideas without having to interrupt the speaker.
WHO CAN’T MEDIATE?
1. ABILITY TO SPEAK FREELY:
Mediation requires you to negotiate with your spouse. You have to be able to sit in the room together, and you have to be able to express what you need.
If you are not clear about what you want or need, or why you want or need it, that’s OK. I can work with you during the mediation process to help you to consider lots of different options and give you time to figure out what you need.
2. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
If you and your spouse have a history of violence between you, you probably should use more traditional methods for negotiating your divorce. It is difficult to speak freely and express what you want if you fear that you will pay for your words later.
However – if you have a clear belief that mediation is your best option, please feel free to give me a call to discuss safeguards that we can put into the mediation process, such as:
- Written guidelines of behavior which, if violated, will trigger immediate termination;
- Presence of your advocate, relative or friend during mediation;
- Separate mediation appointments for you and your spouse/partner;
- Telephone/conference call mediation appointments, with no face-to-face meetings.
WHAT IS MEDIATOR NEUTRALITY?
How could a mediator be neutral about your situation when you are getting divorced? Surely one of you is right and the other is wrong! If you know in your bones – and all of your friends agree – that you are right, you may think that mediation would not make sense for you, because you don’t want to compromise.
First of all – let me reassure you that you won’t agree to anything in mediation that you don’t want to agree to! But something happens in mediation that changes people’s goals and outlook. I don’t ask my clients to agree with each other – just to make an honest effort to understand each other. And to accomplish that, it turns out that mediator neutrality is one of the most valuable and powerful tools I have.
If I really understand how you are feeling, what this experience has done to you, what this means for you, the challenges that you are facing as you try to restructure your life – then I can help your spouse understand these things. And I can also make sure that the agreement that we put together takes care of you and your needs.
WHAT ARE THE RULES OF MEDIATION?
Click here to read the Rules of Mediation/Mediation Structure.