Divorce mediation works for separating couples because it accounts for each perspective, is more cost-effective than litigation, and creates a mutually agreeable outcome. But beyond that, why does it really, really work? What is one major element that makes the process of mediation successful in resolving conflict?
While speaking up and expressing concerns are vital to reaching an agreement during divorce mediation, good listening is the root of why this strategy works. Genuine, active listening is a skill that can be difficult to master, especially in a stressful situation such as divorce. Being present without interrupting, asking clarifying questions, and listening with an open mind/heart will make for a smooth divorce mediation process.
Listening doesn’t mean agreeing with, nor liking, what the other person is saying. It means retaining the information and understanding another point of view. During mediation, you can listen to the other side without having to agree with that perspective. Fully taking into account what the other person is saying will help you understand their position and will ultimately help you formulate your response logically and with reason.
Good divorce mediators are master listeners
It is the mediator’s job to facilitate a productive conversation with the goal of reaching an agreement, which means excellent listening to both sides. People tend to feel more confident and appreciated when someone is really listening to them, allowing them to maintain their opinions in an effective conversation. When the divorce mediator actively listens, validates and empathizes with your spouse, don’t take this as taking sides—it is simply how the mediator gathers the necessary information to facilitate a mutually beneficial outcome. Mediations proceed more smoothly and better outcomes are reached when you and your spouse also listen to and understand each other rather than talking over or interrupting.
It’s definitely important to voice opinions and concerns during divorce mediation, but even more crucial is to be a good listener. So go ahead, speak up, but listen up more!
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