To avoid adding even more stress to an already stressful situation, many couples going through divorce opt for mediation to resolve the issues that are common during this difficult time. Mediation is a more peaceful way to reach resolutions related to property division, child custody, support payments and other factors that can quickly become contentions in a courtroom environment.
Effective as it can be, mediation is not for every couple. In some cases, the most effective way for both spouses to obtain a fair outcome is to allow a Louisiana judge to rule on those issues. Nevertheless, the benefits of this form of alternative dispute resolution often make it worth the compromises you must make. That is why it is critical that you avoid any behaviors that may inadvertently or intentionally sabotage your mediation process.
Focus on the goal
Do you really want to settle your divorce? Are you truly willing to compromise and negotiate to reach a fair settlement, even if it means you may not get everything you want in the end? These are questions you should consider before deciding to enter divorce mediation. Otherwise, if you are not committed to participating fully and making the process work, you may end up with more frustration on top of the cost of litigation after mediation fails.
Some behaviors you will want to avoid to keep your mediation moving forward include the following:
- Coming to mediation with a goal of punishing your spouse
- Using your children as leverage or to pressure your spouse into meeting your demands
- Making false accusations of abuse, addiction, infidelity or other negative behaviors against your spouse
- Taking advantage of triggers you know will wound or enrage your spouse
- Failing to prepare for mediation, such as gathering and organizing your documents and knowing what you hope to gain from the divorce
- Hiding assets from your spouse or being untruthful about your income
- Trying to rush the process
- Being determined to fight for everything you want no matter what
Mediation is not always easy, and there may be moments of tension. However, a skilled mediator can help you and your ex through these difficulties if you are committed to the process. Of course, if one spouse is abusive or controlling, mediation is usually not an appropriate or safe method of divorce. However, many spouses whose divorces are less than amicable have had positive experiences using mediation to dissolve their marriages.