Mediation – How to Prepare

Reset your thinking

Resolve to get the most out of this mediation. Be positive and optimistic. Really, try hard!

Be realistic

Don’t ask for the moon. Manage expectations. Envision a good outcome, not a perfect one.

Go into mediation as an interest based negotiator not as a positional bargainer.

Think about to how to communicate what is important about an issue rather than arguing for a specific position or solution. Try to communicate your underlying concerns, needs and interests. This will allow your mediator to look for ways to create a win-win solution.

Write out a confidential statement

This is a way to help you focus and to help the mediator prepare for your session. It also helps to assure that valuable time is not wasted at the session. To prepare your statement, start by listing each issue you want to discuss at mediation. Then, for each issue, write a paragraph about how you view the dispute, presenting what is important to you, stating your concerns, and what you need to be satisfied with an outcome. Label this document clearly as a Confidential Mediation Statement and send it to the mediator well in advance of your mediation session.

Provide attachments to the confidential mediation statement

Provide only those documents that will help the mediator or which the mediator requested. Do not send copious documents, such as endless text messages or screenshots. The mediator’s time is valuable and you will be charged for reviewing documents.

Acknowledge your emotions

Feelings of being undervalued, betrayed, or hurt often permeate the landscape in family law matters. Anger and fear can be driving forces that prevent settlement. Consider the emotions that well up inside you when you think about your dispute. Your mediation will allow an opportunity for you to talk about how you feel. The court will not allow you to do that. Your mediator will likely listen because talking about emotions and expressing your feelings fosters an understanding of how emotion is affecting the way you view the issues.

Prepare to recognize success

In a successful mediation each party will likely be unhappy about something in the agreement or memorandum of understanding. Compromise is a component of most mediation, so some minor dissatisfaction with a particular aspect of an agreement is common. Prepare yourself for this possibility.

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