Communication Tips in Divorce Mediation
For starters, communication in a divorce mediation should not occur like it appears in this picture. Darren M. Shapiro, Esq. is a fully certified mediator, with the training, skill, and experience required to help couples navigate through the complications of divorce in a less adversarial format. For couples who would like to end their marriage on amicable terms, or avoid the strain that can be placed on both themselves, and their families through traditional litigation, mediation offers a fantastic solution which Mr. Shapiro regularly works with people that wish to mediate.
In various blog posts and web pages, Mr. Shapiro has extoled the virtues of divorce mediation and collaborative law, in circumstances wherein the disputes of a divorce may be settled within couples in a format based largely on negotiation. However, for the concept of mediation in divorce to move smoothly and work as intended, it's important for both parties to be willing to take part. Mediation will always be a voluntary process, and attempting to force either party into it will end in more problems than solutions.
Mediation in divorce is significantly different from traditional divorce litigation. In more common divorces - typically set within a court room - the proceeding may start without the input or consent given by the other party. Indeed, often one side and their lawyer will be responsible for drafting the initial pleadings of the case, filing those pleadings, and having them served to the opposing party. As Mr. Shapiro frequently reminds his clients, in New York, the spouse that has been served will have a twenty days to "appear" in the case (or longer depending on the details of the case and type of service), setting the beginning of the adversarial process.
Often, mediation is the solution that Mr. Shapiro's clients choose when they want to achieve a particular outcome in their divorce - such as maintaining a friendship with the ex-spouse, or using a process that is prudent on a financial level. During the mediation procedure, both spouses involved, or those individuals and their respective lawyers, will utilize the insight of a professional mediator like Mr. Shapiro to discuss the various matters to be determined during the divorce. Although the mediator cannot prompt the parties in the divorce to make any specific decisions, they can help to facilitate routes in determining which practices might be best.
Importantly, it's worth noting that negotiations during divorce mediation will not always seem entirely straight-forward. The chances are that you may begin working on the issues that are at the very end of your list, then travel backwards over time. Coming to the end of a divorce mediation in a manner that is beneficial for both parties involved will require some collaboration and ability to co-operate between parties. In some circumstances, a mediator may even suggest that it is best to address the simplest issues prevailing throughout your divorce first. Though these may not be the most "important" matters, they can form a foundation for avoiding controversy, building trust, and encouraging compromise.
Keep in mind that during your mediation sessions, your professional mediator will be there to help you address and brainstorm different solutions to various problems you and your spouse may be facing. You should both attempt to express the things that are important to you in a healthy and respectful way, while making sure that you listen to the words of the other party - regardless of how frustrated you might feel. The most important part of concluding a divorce mediation successfully is to be cooperative, open to compromise, and ready to listen to your spouse's point of view.
One thing that Mr. Shapiro found during his mediation training and in the materials, specifically, the "Friendly Divorce Guidebook for New York", was that it can be useful, during a mediation, to talk about the reasons that the couple chose for selecting mediation as a divorce process in the first place. During his extensive experience within the field of family law and divorce, Mr. Shapiro has found that various suggestions given in this book have been helpful in providing guidance for divorce mediation. The reason a couple chose to access mediation instead of an adversarial approach to divorce may be based on a desire to be proud of their ability to resolve issues in a mature and peaceful manner, or an aim to act within the best interests of the children, and be fair to both parties involved.
Some specific goals that certain parties hope to achieve when accessing mediation in divorce include: an aim to be financially and emotionally stable in their new life, a hope to retire at certain ages, the ability to support children financially, the ability to share the parenting process with the ex-spouse, and maintain continuity within their career. Remember, although Mr. Shapiro can work as a mediator to help you discuss the various problems at hand that may need to be discussed, it is important that you feel capable of speaking up for yourself. However, for the negotiation to work, no party can focus completely on their own needs, but instead must search for some form of balance.
One point that Mr. Shapiro frequently makes before engaging in mediation processes, is that neither party should attempt to make hostages of their children during the divorce, or make them participants in the battle that exists between spouses. Instead, it should be the aim of both parties to move on with their lives in a healthy and positive way. Sometimes, it's worth remembering that both parties will have had a part to play in the dissolution of a marriage, and you must be willing to communicate reasonably for mediation to work.
To learn more about the benefits of accessing mediation instead of more common forms of adversarial divorce procedures, please visit our website for information, or reach out to us. If you are interested in using Mr. Shapiro as your personal certified mediator, or review attorney, then schedule your free half-an-hour consultation at your earliest convenience. You can call to make an appointment either in office, or via phone call or email. We look forward to helping you move onto the next stage of your life, and hope to speak with you soon about your legal needs.