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How to Reduce the Costs of Mediation — Part II

May 9, 2018  | 

{4:00 minutes to read}  Separating is a painful and emotionally draining process. Needlessly prolonging the process will only add to that, however, it is within your power to insure that time in the meetings is not wasted. Here are some additional steps that you can take to insure that mediation fees remain reasonable by limiting the number of sessions that are needed.

Know what mediation is all about and why you’re doing it.

When I ask clients why they have chosen mediation, some say it is because their spouse wanted to mediate. They didn’t really have any idea about the process or a strong reason to choose it.
 
If you are considering mediation but are unsure of how it works, ask for a consultation to learn about the process before you agree to mediate. For mediation to work best, there needs to be a commitment to the process from both parties, along with an acknowledgment of your motives in choosing mediation.
 
Then, if the mediation reaches an impasse, that commitment and the reason why you started the process can become the anchor that motivates you to continue. 
 

Avoid mediating past behaviors.

Mediation is not marriage counseling, nor is the mediator’s role to determine the truth of an allegation of past bad behavior on the part of your spouse. However, it is common for accusations from past behaviors to be brought up during the mediation. Sometimes that can even be helpful in terms of explaining why you are hesitant about accepting a proposal made by your spouse.
 
In general, mediating past behaviors is not helpful to the process. A better tactic would be to make a proposal that can address the behavior that you want to change. Not confident in your ability to do that? See Making Proposals by Bill Eddy.
 

Avoid sarcasm and derogatory comments.

I know how hard it can be to resist leveling that perfect sarcastic comment or insult, but I urge you to try. Rarely have I seen sarcasm or insults result in the other person agreeing to what you want. More often, I see the other person shut down.
 
If it’s just too hard for you to get through a meeting, consider talking to a divorce coach. Doing that could help you reach the outcome you seek in a more productive way. 
 

Explain yourself and have an open mind.

If you are looking for a certain outcome, be prepared to share with the other person why that outcome is so important to you. And at the same time, consider the effect that outcome may have on the other person.
 
For example, if you are proposing an amount of support to be received or paid by you, show an accurate (not inflated) budget to demonstrate why you need that amount or how much you can afford to pay.
 
If you know the other person can’t afford to accept the outcome you are looking for, be prepared to propose ways to reach that outcome. Or be open to a discussion that generates options that will work for you both. 
 

While I believe that mediation should be the first choice for a couple who is separating, I also acknowledge that it will not make the process painless or a “walk in the park.” You and your spouse can make things a bit easier on yourselves by not wasting the time spent with the mediator. 

Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

Attorney & Mediator
500 Mamaroneck Avenue | Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
Tel: 914.946.0848

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