If you want to avoid a litigated divorce, mediation is one of the best routes to take. It offers a non-adversarial setting that makes it easier to negotiate an agreeable split.
But, what if your relationship with your spouse can best be currently described as a “high-conflict” situation? Mediation in a high-conflict divorce can be challenging, but valuable. Here are some tips that can make the process easier:
1. Prepare thoroughly
Nothing can throw a mediation session off track like missing documents or a lack of information. Make certain that you have everything you need at hand and well-organized before the sessions start. You also need to make certain that you have a clear idea of your priorities and needs so that you have a fair idea of what a successful mediation looks like to you.
2. Set reasonable goals
Recognize that the goal of mediation isn’t to decide a “winner” or “loser.” Go into the process with a clear understanding that compromise is going to be necessary. Make sure that you separate your “needs” from your “wants” and be willing to give on the wants.
3. Keep your emotions in check
Stay calm, no matter what. If your spouse tries to provoke you, rely on the mediator’s skills to diffuse the situation and redirect the conversation to the matters at hand. Don’t allow yourself to be baited into arguments about the past.
Don’t let anybody tell you that mediation isn’t possible in a high-conflict divorce. In fact, mediation may be the best way to transform your current adversarial relationship with your spouse into something more positive once the divorce is over. This can be particularly important if you are connected by children together – and that’s always worth considering.