You’re ready to divorce, but not necessarily to fight in a courtroom with your ex. If you’re hoping for an alternative to court, you may be a viable candidate for mediation. This process involves a neutral third party, who helps you and your ex make key decisions regarding child custody, spousal maintenance, property division, and more.
Although not always the best option, mediation often allows couples to escape the downsides of litigation divorce. Sometimes, issues can be resolved more quickly and at a lower cost. Many couples dread the formal nature of courtroom proceedings, and prefer something a bit more laid-back.
Mediation Etiquette: Rules to Follow to Keep Mediation As Productive As Possible
You and your spouse need not maintain a particularly friendly relationship to prove successful in mediation. You must, however, agree to follow certain etiquette guidelines to keep the process as drama-free as possible. For example:
- No name-calling or emotional abuse in any form
- Take turns speaking—no interrupting when the other person is talking
- Listen to and try to appreciate your ex’s perspective, even if you disagree
- Acknowledge your ex’s right to have a different opinion
- Be open-minded regarding creative solutions to your divorce disagreements
What If Mediation Is Not For Me?
Mediation can prove an effective and affordable alternative for many couples, but it’s not ideal for everybody. This approach is particularly problematic for couples in which a power imbalance still exists. For example, a spouse previously abused by the other party may struggle to stand up for him or herself in mediation. In such situations, the abused spouse requires assertive representation from a trusted family attorney.
If you’re not sure whether mediation is the right approach, contact a trusted attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you determine the best next steps for your divorce — mediation or otherwise. If you proceed with mediation, your lawyer can serve as outside counsel and provide a valuable perspective.
Contact the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. to learn how a skilled Minnesota attorney’s involvement could improve your prospects in mediation or a collaborative divorce.