Preparing for a mediation session can feel like walking into an unknown, and this uncertainty can be extremely daunting. Here are our best mediation tips, designed to make this experience less terrifying! There may have been no contact since your separation or, if you reside together and avoid discussing sensitive subjects to preserve peace and tranquility within your household. How can you best prepare yourself for a meeting that will be productive and at ease with what may or may not happen during a mediation session, including how best to respond? Experienced Spanish-speaking Attorney/Mediators in Houston provide mediation and arbitration. Spanish speaking mediator in Houston Texas ability to speak fluent Spanish enables them to converse easily with parties involved and discuss all aspects of mediation in Spanish is unparalleled.
Emotions may run high during such discussions. Mediators understand the tendency for you to discuss past events or become involved with an incident you don’t yet fully comprehend, which could aggravate matters further. Being ex-partners means both of you know exactly what to say to get each other angry. Relationships involve different individuals with their own beliefs and perspectives that could differ significantly from yours. While you might try convincing someone of your perspective, disagreeing may actually provide relief from issues which led you to mediation in the first place. There are many ways mediation will yield positive outcomes.
Here are ten points to keep in mind while preparing for a meeting. Don’t forget them before the start of any meetings!
Think about all the positive qualities associated with the individual you are speaking to. Try to come up with as many good qualities about them that could possibly make an impressionful conversation.
Setting an example that’s positive can be daunting when you don’t know where to focus, but by setting an example that sets the stage for positive behaviors and prompts positive responses – Thumper famously advised “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!”!
Use language which is all about we/ our/ us; not you /your / he / she
Think about this issue within the context of mutual understanding and speak as parents rather than as separating partners. Instead of making statements such as, “He/she or you” that seem to point fingers or verbally attack one person directly, try instead speaking in sentences beginning or ending with “we, us, or our”. For example: “Our issue is that it can be challenging for us to discuss living arrangements in our family home”, or “The children depend on for us…”.
Be the better parent / show politeness
If the other party is being unreasonable, make them appear like water that a duck has spilled onto you by being aware of such remarks and focusing on the core issue. Let them know they should take responsibility by not responding and instead redirecting their conversation in an approachable manner.
Take legal advice
Although our mediation clients often come recommended from other lawyers, we strongly advise anyone enlisting our assistance for mediation to seek legal advice before finalizing a mediated settlement. If you decide to engage in mediation, legal advice can be obtained at any time during the process; particularly for financial mediation once both parties have provided financial documents. A solicitor can offer some suggestions to help resolve your dispute, as well as an understanding of what a court might order under your unique circumstances. While mediators may offer legal guidance, their advice cannot be trusted as much. Getting guidance from solicitors allows you to evaluate possible mediation solutions.
Give them the problem
Effective problem-solving requires turning over control to another party and asking them to find an agreement-friendly solution, rather than forcing your solution on them which they might resist simply because it’s your idea. You don’t have to agree with their decision even if there are valid arguments about why it doesn’t work; disagreement can be addressed through neutral, factual discussions so as to find mutually agreeable options which both of you can sign off on.
As is often the case in stressful situations, stress causes our “fight or flight” response, making people incapable of thinking rationally or attending to formulate responses. So take a moment and listen carefully to what the other person is saying before responding; show that you’ve taken notice by showing that you understand their message before responding; remain calm if necessary and ask for short breaks so you can relax – deep breaths or other forms of relaxation techniques could prove useful here.
Think about the key time-scales
Be mindful that mediation may yield both short-term and long-term solutions, though for initial sessions it’s wiser to focus on short-term issues as there may not be time or energy needed to address everything at once. Take note of any key moments or milestones important to your plans before entering mediation; such as whether certain decisions need to be made within certain time frames versus any concerns that could be flagged to be addressed at a later time.
Priorities and compromises
Determine what’s important to both of you as well as to your friends. Everyone may have different priorities; through mediation, you should discover their top priority (if unknown already). Listen closely as they share this insight; take note of any solutions or plans they suggest so each of you can achieve what matters to them individually.
What if you are unhappy with the way the mediation is conducted?
If, during mediation, you feel as if the discussion is unfairly imbalanced, that you aren’t being heard or interrupted, be sure to request time with the mediator to reflect and write out your complaints in writing – even if it seems minor; your mediator or attorney would likely welcome helping improve matters should they be able to.
Take a long-term view
Whether it be property or financial issues that you must resolve, mediation often brings relief more quickly than discussing them in private or allowing a court to make a determination. Furthermore, mediation offers the unique possibility of communicating about parenting together through an impartial third-party facilitator in an effective and constructive manner.
Endings and double checking
After each meeting, have the mediator summarize any proposals so you have enough time to take notes and ensure you fully comprehend any proposals before receiving a summary of mediation from them – this may take up to several days depending on their schedule – it’s okay if there’s been an oversight, such as miscommunication from either party; just remember, mediation doesn’t come without its share of missteps or mistakes! It may require correction from them as well should there be any discrepancies.