You And Your Spouse Can Mediate!
One of the biggest misconceptions about mediation is that it is for couples who are “getting along”. I have been a mediator for over a decade and most of the couples that I work with are not “getting along”. In almost all divorce cases there is a certain level of anger, conflict and distrust. Divorce creates additional stresses for a family. Even couples that could communicate and resolve issues in the past may have difficulties during the divorce process. My role as a mediator is to respect where the couple is in the divorce process and to support them as they go forward. Many couples say they can’t discuss significant issues at home because the discussion becomes too heated. As a mediator it is my role to encourage respectful, honest dialogue. Here are some of the guidelines that we use in mediation:
Speak for yourself, not for your spouse
Express your goals and needs, even if you think your spouse will not support them
Listen carefully to your spouse’s comments
Focus on the future, not the past
Control your emotions, even if your spouse is being provocative
Offer solutions that address your needs as well as your spouse’s needs
In mediation you will learn how to transition from an intimate communication style to a more reserved communication style. I tell my clients to talk to your partner how you would talk to a business associate – calmly and clearly.