Divorce mediation can only work when both parties are actively participating throughout the entire process. If one side is passive while the other is aggressive, a solution will most likely not be mutually beneficial as it would if both parties are equally expressive. Coming to an agreement is a two-way street, with the help of a neutral third party in mediation. A divorcing couple will have a more successful separation if these three do’s and three don’ts are followed:

DO speak up

Mediation is the time to lay it all out on the line, to express your concerns and needs so that your issues can be addressed before an agreement is settled upon. The process will be quicker and more efficient when all issues are out in the open, rather than backtracking later to address things you didn’t bring up initially.

DO listen

Listening is absolutely crucial to a successful mediation. Hearing your spouse’s side and the mediator’s input will help you reach decisions that work for both of you after the divorce is final.

DO be reasonable

Of course you want the children and house to yourself, but that is probably not the most realistic solution. Think about what is best for both of you, and children if they are involved, without being stubborn in your demands.

DON’T argue

This is not the time or place to pick a fight. Bringing up past issues or reasons for the separation is irrelevant when working towards an amicable future. Arguing won’t get you anywhere in mediation, so keep the foul comments to yourself. And remember the rule:  if you do not like a proposed option suggest an alternative in order to keep moving forward.

DON’T sell yourself short

It’s okay to be somewhat selfish during a divorce. Make sure all your needs and objectives are taken into account in the decisions, especially regarding important factors such as assets and children. Speak up for yourself and don’t settle just because it’s easier.

DON’T abandon your attorney

Mediators and attorneys can work together during a divorce to reach a successful outcome. An attorney acts as a client’s legal guide, while a mediator acts as a facilitator for the clients’ decisions. A good attorney helps clients think of options that can work in the best interest in the new family structure.

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