Going into mediation can be a stressful experience. Many times there are lingering feelings that can cloud your judgement. Hurt feelings and unresolved anger can lead to misunderstandings. If you are headed into mediation, remembering these 7 things could help ease the process:
Aim for solutions that will work for everyone, and don't keep score.
Be flexible, and don’t enter mediation with a preconceived plan. Be open to different alternatives.
Listen and be respectful to what your spouse says, and what you say to your spouse. Don't speak on your spouse’s behalf. Think before you speak.
Use the mediator to get a different perspective. Mediators are neutral parties with a lot of experience; they can help brainstorm for different solutions - be sure to utilize their experience.
Come prepared. Bring all financial and other records you think will be needed. Update these records if required. Put some effort into preparing your budget.
Try not to discuss difficult issues in advance. It may seem like you and your spouse are getting along, but there will be moments when the topic is toxic and tempers will flare, rendering the progress made beforehand useless.
Relax and take a deep breath. The most frequent question I get asked by couples is “How long will this process take?” My standard response to that is “How long have you been married? Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Remembering these 7 steps is vital, but there is one thing a couple must not do: Discuss difficult issues in advance. And one last thing: Take a break when you need it! A good mediator can help sort through emotional baggage and get couples to a place of agreement. Allow the process to unfold. Relax - take a deep breath - and remember that you can get through this.