Five Divorce Mediation Mistakes to Avoid

Mediation is one of the top alternative dispute resolutions utilized by divorcing couples in Dallas, Texas. Mediation allows the two parties to discuss their expectations for the divorce, compromise and negotiate, and settle on an agreement that both parties are happy with. The greatest benefit of divorce mediation, though, is that it allows the two parties to save money on litigation and attorney’s fees. However, mediation is only as successful as you make it. Mediation does not do either party any good if each is unwilling to compromise or is out to make the other “pay.” At the Clark Law Group, our divorce attorneys can guide you toward the best possible outcome via mediation. Our years of experience has taught us what clients should and should not do to find success through mediation.

Top Five Mistakes Couples Make in Divorce Mediation

Mediation involves working collaboratively and can yield hugely successful results. However, it can also easily go from helpful to counterproductive. Here are five ways in which divorce mediation can – and has – gone south:

The Parties Insult One Another

One of the most surefire ways to make mediation unsuccessful is to insult your former spouse during negotiations. Sharing your feelings regarding your former spouse is likely to make the mediation think that you are bitter and angry, and not up for a collaborative divorce.

The Participants Let the Other Get to Them

Just because your and your spouse agreed to a collaborative divorce does not mean that the process is going to be easy. Things might heat up, and when they do, you may be tempted to say the first thing that pops into your mind. Do not do this, as spur-of-the-moment comments can end up hurting you. Think everything through before you say it, and if you feel that you are getting heated up, ask for time to take a mental “time out.”

Each Party Thinks They Know Best

It is easy to think that you know everything about the person whom you spent a significant amount of your life with, and it is easy to assume that you can read them like an open book, but these assumptions can hurt you in the long run. Just because your spouse makes a face, or performs a familiar gesture, does not mean that you know what they are thinking. Mediation is about discussing, and not interpreting. The mediator will listen to the facts and only the facts and make a decision based upon those. With that in mind, do not take any facial expressions or gestures to heart, and even when your spouse does frown, pretend like you did not see it.

One or Both Parties Over-Exaggerate

Statements that include “always” or “never” are almost always exaggerations. For instance, when your spouse says that you “never paid the bills,” or that he or she “always took care of the baby,” they are really just sending out an invitation for an argument. These types of statements are almost never conducive to a constructive mediation session.

One or Both Parties Try to Drag Others into the Divorce

One of the greatest aspects of mediation is confidentiality, so when one or both parties start talking about their sessions with friends, family members, and anyone who will listen, it begins to defeat the purpose. Respect your former spouses’ (and your own) privacy, and do not discuss mediation sessions with others.

It is up to both parties to make mediation successful and to actively avoid the mistakes mentioned above. If you and your spouse opted for mediation instead of a traditional divorce, print out these top five mistakes for both you and them and ensure that you are familiar with what and what not to do before entering mediation.

Consult a Dallas Divorce Attorney

At the Clark Law Group, our Dallas divorce attorneys can advise you and your former spouse on how to make mediation work for you. To schedule a free consultation with our legal team today, call (214) 438-1152, or use our online contact form.

(image courtesy of Samuel Zeller)

Categories: