You've decided you want to try mediation but you aren't sure how to ask your spouse to mediate your divorce. I get it. When your marriage is ending, and both of you are going your separate ways, it can be hard to be on the same page about anything, much less mediation. Use the following tips to help you ask (and convince) your spouse to mediate the divorce.
As with anything, preparation is critical. While you don't need to be an expert on mediation, having enough background knowledge to understand why it interests you is essential. Do some research ahead of time. You might be able to find all you need to know with a simple online search, but if you are missing information, contact a professional for those details.
Once you have the details about mediation, you must communicate carefully with your spouse. Keep in mind that you may both be reeling from the changes taking place, so this is a great time to tread lightly.
Choose a time when conflict is limited between the two of you. Don't pick the moment that a child is challenging or one of you is late to a meeting. You know when those moments are, and the best thing you can do is to avoid them.
In some cases, direct conversation leads to conflict each and every time. If that's the case for you, consider sending an email or text instead. Not only does it give the other person a few minutes (or hours) to think about their response, but it allows them to do so at a time that is convenient for them.
If necessary, reach out to your mediator for assistance. On rare occasion, I work with clients who request that I contact their spouse on their behalf. In those cases, I send either an email or a letter introducing myself and the mediation process. I also invite the spouse to schedule a call to discuss any questions or concerns they may have.
If you have resources related to mediation (or divorce in general), you may choose to share them with your spouse in an attempt to get him or her on board.
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Just because you want to do something, doesn't mean that your spouse will as well. Focus on how mediation will benefit both of you. For example, mediation allows for:
...among other things. When you know the benefits ahead of time, you'll be able to convey them to your partner.
No matter what you do, don't force the issue of mediation with your spouse. Ideally, you want an amicable settlement and angering or irritating the other party will only result in frustration on both sides.
Consider the following commonly asked questions from couples considering divorce mediation.
Each mediator's process may vary a little bit, so I recommend asking your mediator what to expect. Here's an outline of my process.
I always start mediation with an initial appointment that I refer to as an Orientation Session. During the Orientation, we get to know each, collect some necessary biographical information, review the Agreement to Mediate, and discuss any documentation that is needed.
After the initial session, I have an individual conversation with each party to review their questions and concerns about the process. We discuss what issues they are worried about addressing in mediation as well as communication strategies to make the mediation sessions more productive.
Once we've laid the groundwork, we start meeting for two-hour time blocks. During each session, I prepare an agenda ahead of time. The agenda always starts with any pressing issues that needed to be discussed immediately or added to the agenda.
During the session, I ask each party questions, and I take notes as they are talking. I guide the session based on the agenda but make adjustments based on how the parties are managing through the process. After the meeting, I provide the parties with a detailed summary of what was discussed during the session.
Most of my divorce mediations take 2-3 two-hour sessions to come to an agreement. After the mediation, I provide the parties with a draft of their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). I ask them to read it carefully and let me know if anything is not accurate or needs to be adjusted. Once both parties approve the document, I provide them with a final version.
Being prepared for mediation not only speeds up the process but also lends itself to more favorable outcomes for you. To prepare for your divorce mediation, I recommend doing the following:
Several factors determine how long a divorce mediation will take. I recently wrote a whole post on the topic, which you can visit via the link below. The five factors I identified are as follows:
Related post: How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?
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