Top 3 Tips for Mediation
A successful mediation means that your family law matter is over quickly, cheaply, and without ongoing fighting, unlike the long, expensive and litigious nature of court.
With the right approach, you can give yourself the best chance of getting an agreement and make the most of your mediation, and these are my top tips to do that:
1. NEVER SAY NO
Now I am definitely not suggesting that you should agree to everything the other side suggests, but what I am trying to say is to be solution focused not problem focused. It sounds cliché, but it can make all of the difference in a mediation.
What I mean is that if the other side suggests something that doesn’t work for you, say why and give your reasons, don’t just close up and disagree. For example, if the other side suggests that changeover happens at 5:00pm on Sundays at McDonalds, but you can’t get the kids there until 5:30pm because of your work schedule, rather than saying “no”, try saying “that doesn’t work for me because I finish at 5:00pm. What about changeover at 5:30?”
Think if the roles were reversed. If the other side just said no to your suggestions, it’s probably going to frustrate you. But if the other side said, gave an understandable reason for disagreeing, you’d probably understand and be able to come up with a compromise.
By giving options to work around an issue also puts you in control, and means that you are driving the agreement, and you’re more likely to get an outcome that suits you.
2. FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE
If you want changeover to happen at McDonalds but the other side is pushing for Hungry Jacks, or if you want one real estate agent to sell you house, but the other side wants a different one, just take a moment and step back.
If you’re into fighting over little details like that, the good news is that you probably almost have an agreement! The bad news is that people can get caught up in the smaller details.
When it feels like the other side is being frustrating, just take a step back and look at the whole picture. In the scheme of things, is it worth letting your whole agreement fall apart over something like this?
It’s important to pick your battles, and if this isn’t going to derail your ideal big picture outcome, then don’t sweat the small stuff.
3. REMEMBER TO COMMERCIAL REALITY
In an ideal world, it would be easy to make sure that the right decision was always made. Unfortunately, life is not that simple.
Because family law isn’t always black and white, there can be a lot of grey area to fight over, and no clear “right” answer. This means that sometimes both parties can have legitimate reasons for wanting what they want.
If you are fighting over a few thousand dollars in a property settlement, just think, is it worth spending more money than you would receive to get your ideal outcome? If your mediation fails and you need lawyers to help, this could end up costing you much more than what you are fighting over.
Sometimes it helps to think practically, rather than legally.
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