Mediation in the divorce process is a helpful avenue for resolving disputes amicably. Effective communication with your mediator is crucial to ensure a smooth and equitable mediation process. Here are some insights on the rules and best practices for communicating with your mediator during divorce proceedings:
- Transparency is Key. One fundamental rule is to maintain transparency. The mediator will emphasize that they are a neutral facilitator, and typically have a preference for all communication to involve both you and your spouse, unless there is prior agreement for one-on-one discussions. This approach ensures that there’s no ambiguity about what the mediator is conveying to each party, fostering a sense of fairness in the process.
- Use Caucuses Thoughtfully. Sometimes, caucuses (private meetings between the mediator and one party) are necessary. However, these should be agreed upon in advance and typically involve issues that both parties agree are sensitive or challenging. Many mediators use caucuses judiciously and only when the situation truly warrants it.
- Secrets Are Not Ideal. There might be situations where one party wishes to share information privately. However, the preference is to encourage parties to share important information with each other. This ensures that relevant information is brought into the mediation process, increasing the likelihood of crafting a durable agreement that won’t lead to future legal disputes.
- Lobbying the Mediator. While it’s natural to want the mediator to see your perspective, it’s important to remember that mediators are not decision-makers. Instead of viewing it as lobbying, consider it as providing information that supports your proposed resolution. The ultimate decision-makers are you and your spouse, so convincing the mediator is not the primary goal.
- Respect Perspectives. It is important to respect your spouses’ perspective during the mediation. If your spouse has concerns or goals that differ from what you think the concerns and goals should be, their perspective should be honored. Ultimately, adults involved in mediation have the autonomy to make their own agreements and resolutions.
Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of a successful mediation process in divorce. While rules may vary depending on the mediator’s preferences, these guidelines provide a solid foundation for effective communication. By embracing transparency, carefully considering caucuses, and respecting each other’s perspectives, you can navigate the mediation process with greater ease and fairness, leading to more satisfactory outcomes for all parties involved.
Lisa R. Murray is an experienced Mediation Attorney. She can help you determine the goals for your divorce and work to a settlement that allows you to achieve those goals. You can call her at 605-297-0367.