- If you’re about to enter mediation, the odds are your emotions include upset, anger, disappointment, and probably several other feelings. If it helps, the other person is probably in the same position although perhaps showing it in very different ways. You obviously don’t agree on everything or you wouldn’t be in mediation in the first place. You each understand each other’s circumstances and emotions better than you’ve probably been willing to admit.
- The success of mediation depends on complete and honest disclosure of relevant information and documents to each other and to the mediator. This includes providing all information and documents that usually would be available through the discovery process in a legal proceeding. If you fail to make full disclosure, a court might rule later that the agreement resulting from mediation is not binding.
- Accusations only hinder the process and are not relevant to the issues to be discussed in mediation. Leave fault and blame aside. The focus of mediation is on the future, not the past.
- Accept responsibility for yourself. State what you want and need, and include your intent, reasons and feelings. Don’t try to speak for the other person.
- Go into the mediation prepared to be respectful and courteous to the mediator and the other party. This is not the place to “get even.” It may be the place to get things “off your chest,” but respectfully.
- Sometimes, the mediator will meet with the parties separately in a “caucus” to clarify issues. Usually, the mediator will identify those times, but you can also let everyone know when you feel a caucus would be helpful. Things said during the caucus are confidential and cannot be reported to any other party without the permission of the party in caucus.
- Most matters are complicated and there are many issues and sub-issues that will need resolution. As you discuss concerns, treat “agreements” and “compromises” as “written in sand” until you resolve everything. It will be easier to negotiate with confidence if you know you haven’t agreed to be bound to anything until you agree to everything.
- Consider dressing comfortably. Mediation is hard work!
- Mediation does not replace the need for counselors or psychotherapists.
- Consider how your attorney will be involved through this mediation. Take a look at About to Mediate? Don’t Forget Your Attorney for further guidance.
Our Child & Spousal Support Calculators:
Resolution Point offers remote mediation services at no extra charge when parties can’t be in the same room due to schedules or other conflicts:
- ▪ 4-way phone conference calling
- ▪ Video conferencing
- ▪ Internet connectivity which allows parties to watch everything remotely on their computer screen as it’s happening in our office.
WHAT OTHERS SAY
“I wanted to introduce myself as the attorney who has been retained by [one of your mediation clients] to review, and comment upon, the draft settlement agreement that you previously prepared…. I have been practicing matrimonial law for 34 years in Northern Virginia, and I told [our mutual client] that I have never seen a more thorough and professionally-drafted settlement document. I feel compelled to simply inform you of my personal belief that you have constructed a marvelous agreement for both parties; and can rest assured that your name has now been put at the very top of the ‘mediator referral list’ for all four attorneys in this law firm.”