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Tips for a Successful Mediation

Morris County and Bergen County NJ Divorce and Family Law Mediators

A Divorce Mediation Team Serving Clients throughout New Jersey

In order to position yourself for the most successful divorce mediation process, preparation is key. The act of preparing is, in fact, a two-fold process, as it integrates a practical component (i.e. gathering necessary documents) and a mental component, meaning the emotional preparation that is necessary to enter the mediation in a favorable frame of mind. It is perhaps the most helpful to view your mediation as a mechanism for compromise, an avenue through which to arrive at mutually-acceptable solutions for issues ranging from child custody to division of assets and spousal support. In order to confront the mediation process in a way that allows you to achieve your goals, it is often useful to see the process as a negotiator would. By identifying your goals and priorities, recognizing those of the other party, and using your imagination to devise the most suitable arrangements for everyone involved, you can move forward with a sense of mutual satisfaction. Below is a list of tips to consider as you prepare yourself for the mediation process.

Tips for a Successful NJ Divorce Mediation

Prioritize Your Goals: First and foremost, it is critical to identify and prioritize your goals for the mediation process. Make a list of the issues to be resolved, write down your concerns with regard to each one, and delineate the items by order of importance. In other words, separate your life into categories: division of assets, alimony, child custody, etc. What are your non-negotiables? Are there issues that you are willing to compromise more on? Understanding your goals will provide you with a basis from which to compromise and a guide from which to explain your priorities during mediation discussions.

Consider Your Spouse’s Perspective: Although this may be difficult with emotions running high, it is essential to enter a mediation with some objective understanding of your spouse’s desires with regard to significant issues. How do you anticipate that he or she will feel about the parenting time or the marital home? Once you ascertain the other party’s positions, you can begin to identify potential opportunities for compromise and also to develop solutions that fall within create some middle ground.

Manage Your Expectations: In order to fully embrace the mediation process, it is crucial to manage your own expectations with regard to the outcome. Mediation necessitates compromise, and being able to realistically address issues with the understanding that each will require some give and take, is necessary in order to reach a resolution. The goal of mediation in divorce is to arrive at a “win-win” at the conclusion of the process. However, this does not mean that every issue will result in a “win-win,” only that both parties feel satisfied with the sum of all decisions. In other words, you may need to make some concessions with regard to certain items in order to attain an item that is of greater importance to you. Reasonable expectations will serve you at every turn in the negotiation process, even if your spouse is unrealistic in their perceptions at the outset. Your mediator will ensure fairness during the mediation, so there is never any risk in being the party who is more open to compromise. In fact, it may help you to think more creatively about potential solutions.

Consider Your Communication Style: At times, divorce can be utterly trying. Discussions may cause old wounds to surface and underlying resentment may make it difficult to communicate with your spouse. Also, existing relationship dynamics do not disappear simply because you have chosen to divorce. More often than not, they persist and are carried into the mediation process. Fortunately, your mediator can structure the process in a way that fosters openness, honesty, and mutual respect. For your part, it is essential to remain calm in order to avoid allowing your emotions to cloud your judgement. We are all vulnerable to emotional decision-making and no one is perfect. However, an awareness of your emotions will allow you to mindfully navigate through discussions, examining whether or not your feelings are influencing your thought processes. A divorce and family therapist can serve as an invaluable asset during this time. Ask your mediator for suggestions if you are considering this as an option.

Use Your Imagination: This may sound rather cliche, but mediation provides an ideal environment for innovation. Every person, every couple, every family is unique, with needs and goals for the future that are similarly variable. When you enter a mediation, consider the idea that the possibilities are endless. Parenting arrangements, dividing your assets–there is simply no clear and concrete solution for any of these issues. By thinking creatively, you have the opportunity to devise an arrangement that is customized to suit your specific situation. With regard to some issues, your spouse may be set upon a specific position. By opening your mind to the idea that your interests and theirs can be served in a variety of ways, you can propose alternatives that may appeal to everyone involved. In other words, your ability to problem-solve is limited only by the openness of your mind.

Meet Our New Jersey Divorce Mediation Attorneys

Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark is a law firm dedicated solely to divorce and family law practice. As such, our skilled mediators have developed an expansive body of knowledge regarding all aspects of divorce, from parenting to financial considerations. With panelists for New Jersey’s Matrimonial Early Settlement Panel Mediation Programs, approved family law mediators pursuant to New Jersey Court Rule 1:40-12, and many attorneys who have served previously in New Jersey’s Family Court System, we utilize our extensive experience to develop the most creative solutions for our mediation clients, while also walking you through the legal implications of your decisions. For a free consultation with one of our mediation professionals today, contact our offices in Hackensack at 201-897-6670 or Whippany at 973-975-0476. The answers to your questions are just a phone call away.