Mediation is a powerful tool for conflict resolution used in many legal areas, including family law. The process of mediation usually involves the parties and a third-party mediator. However, sometimes the parties choose to bring their attorneys with them, though the presence of attorneys is not mandatory in mediation.
Role of the mediator
This valuable tool aims to help couples solve disputes amicably. The mediator, who is neutral and unbiased, is there to help them find common ground and work through disagreements that, to the parties, may seem impossible to find solutions for. Using various techniques, mediators can help the parties negotiate and reach their own settlement, which can become binding if the parties want it to be and the court approves it.
There are times when mediation does not work. Sometimes, the parties are sincerely too far apart in their wishes to reach an agreement and need the court’s assistance in deciding. Other times, mediation fails because of some error on the part of one or both parties, which is why it is critical to keep these potential pitfalls in mind before going to mediation.
Lack of preparation
The parties should take mediation seriously, like they would any other court process, even though mediation is less formal than going to court. It is critical for mediation clients to gather all necessary paperwork related to their case and respective claims, to have clear goals and priorities and to be ready to communicate these effectively in mediation.
Letting emotions take control
One of the most common pitfalls in mediation is when the clients are emotionally triggered and respond in an aggressive way. While it is something that the individuals can come back from, with the help of a skilled mediator, it gets in the way of having an amicable negotiation that aims to preserve the relationship between the parties. Maintaining composure is important and necessary.
Unwillingness to compromise
Mediation is a flexible process, which is what differentiates it from court. The primary benefit of a flexible approach is that the parties can agree and not have the court decide who wins and who loses. However, mediation requires the parties to consider many alternatives to solve their issues and be flexible in their stance regarding their problems, as well as the ability to communicate effectively, knowing what they want and why they want it.
By proactively addressing common mistakes people make in mediation, you can be better prepared for your mediation session and more likely to reach a fair and satisfactory resolution.