Divorce Mediation: Choose a Mediator Who Knows How to Listen
As an increasingly common form of alternative dispute resolution, mediation in divorce can allow a couple to navigate the process with minimal stress and reduced financial expense. While divorcing spouses must remain committed to a sense of cooperation in order for mediation to work well, the mediator can also play an integral role in the negotiations. In addition to the necessary responsibility of facilitating constructive discussion, the most successful mediators may be accomplishing the most when it appears that they are not doing anything at all. What seems like nothing may in fact be mediator demonstrating his or skills in active listening, which can be one of the most important characteristics a good mediator possesses.
Even a mediated divorce carries with it a level of uncertainty and apprehension for both spouses, and yours is likely no different. There a few things to keep in mind when selecting a mediator, however, that can help create more positive results.
A Good Mediator Hears Both Sides
While you may not agree with or like what your spouse has to say during mediation, it is important to remember that the process is a cooperative effort. A mediator should listen, validate, and empathize with both partners, in an effort to draw out the information necessary to an appropriate divorce agreement. Listening to your spouse does not mean the mediator agrees or is taking sides; it simply means he or she is being thorough and will extend the same level of respect to you when you speak.
Right or Wrong is Not Very Important
Your mediator needs to develop a clear understanding of your marital and personal situation in order to best facilitate the proceedings. He or she must gather enough information to be helpful, not to make value judgments on which spouse is right or wrong. A mediator has a vested interest in a mutually acceptable outcome, rather than one party “winning” or “losing.”
You Can Help By Listening Too
Many individuals approach divorce, and mediation to some degree, with a sense of entitlement and refuse to constructively participate in negotiations. Mediation is based on the premise, however, that a joint effort between partners is preferable to acrimonious litigation. This means that you must be willing to listen, as well.
By committing to being a good listener, you are not promising to agree with your spouse or to easily be swayed from your position. You are acknowledging that your spouse’s point of view is valid and worthy of discussion, even if you do not agree with what is being said. This frequently leads to atmosphere of mutual respect which is very conducive to successful mediation.
Legal Counsel and Mediation Services
In addition to his extensive work in family law, Attorney Doug Warlick is also a certified divorce mediator who has helped many couples negotiate workable divorce agreements. If you are considering a mediated divorce, contact an experienced Geneva divorce attorney today to discuss your options. Mediation may offer your family the opportunity to complete the divorce process quickly and without the stress associated with courtroom litigation.