5 Keys to Preparing for a Successful Mediation
Often parties don’t know what to expect when heading into mediation. Whether your mediation is scheduled in person or attending a virtual mediation, take time to do some homework. This could make the difference between resolution and impasse!
- Understand the mediation process. Mediation is a consensual or voluntary process. The goal is to reach an agreement; however, the outcome is up to both parties. Mediation affords the individual the opportunity to state their case and push for their interests. The main difference between mediation and a trial is that mediation allows the parties to retain control of their agreement. A trial hands the authority of the outcome over to the judge, and the parties retain little or no control.
- Understand the law. It is advantageous to do research regarding the laws concerning your conflict. Google reliable sources or spend some time gaining advice from an attorney. To prepare for divorce mediation, http://flcourts.org provides resources and services as well as family law forms and other self-help information. Whether your mediation is to be held in-person or online, mediation is confidential. Confidentiality in mediation dictates that no outside parties can influence the mediation, so you will need to gather your information from pertinent sources ahead of time.
- Be aware: the law is not black and white. Life does not happen in a vacuum. There are many interpretations of the “facts”. Just because you interpret the “facts” in your case to be in your favor, does not mean that a judge will agree. Also, understand that the other party interprets the same facts in a much different light than you. Try to step into the shoes of the other party. You don’t have to agree with their viewpoint; however, spend some time pondering why they may feel the way they do. Then step into the shoes of a neutral party looking down from a bird’s eye view and consider how many different possible scenarios there may be in your conflict.
- Be ready to compromise. Resolution in mediation does not typically come from one party getting everything they want and deserve! Success in mediation comes from each party understanding that to bring closure to a conflict, each party will need to give up something to gain something in return. Think through the issues that you may be willing to concede. Mediation is meant to be a cooperative problem-solving process or cooperative bargaining. Cooperative bargainers identify interests and examine differences to understand how each party values these issues. Ideally, resolution reflects a compromise whereby each party gains something of value and concedes something of less importance.
- Calculate the cost of not reaching an agreement. Prior to mediation, speak with your attorney, or court officials to understand the next steps if an agreement is not reached at mediation. Understand specifics regarding the range of time and financial cost of moving the case forward through the court system. Most people mistakenly think that by ‘getting their day in court” the judge will see things their way, and they will win. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the process proves to be much more financially and emotionally draining than expected. Regardless, a win or loss in court, turns out to be a financial and emotional loss for everyone.
Mediation is your chance to structure an agreement that is best for you, your family, your business, and your future!