According to the American Bar Association, most people who participate in mediation report that they are satisfied with the process. Preparing for mediation and knowing what to expect increases the chances that you will be satisfied with your mediation experience, too.
Learn What to Expect: Talk With a Trusted Advisor
If you have an attorney, you should work closely with your attorney to prepare for mediation. Your lawyer can explain the mediation process and help you collect important information that you may need.
If your mediation will attempt to resolve financial matters (and many family law mediations do), plan on attending with organized financial documents. These may include statements from bank accounts, retirement funds and investment accounts. You should also collect information on your debts, including your mortgage, credit card debts, car loans and student loans. Your attorney will tell you exactly what is needed.
In some mediation sessions, attorneys prepare special mediation briefs and materials to help present your side of the story to the other party and the mediator. Whether or not these are needed, your lawyer will develop a strategy for negotiating the best possible outcome. Discuss this strategy with your attorney so that you are both in agreement about what is best.
It’s also a good idea to talk with your attorney about your expectations for the mediation. Talk about which roles each of you will play, how your lawyer will express your point of view and how you will communicate with each other.
You might want to consider:
- What issues do you and the other person agree about?
- What issues do you and the other person disagree about?
- What would you like to accomplish at the mediation? What’s your “bottom line”?
- What result would make you feel satisfied with the outcome?
- If you don’t reach an agreement, what is likely to happen?
- How comfortable are you with the risk of not reaching an agreement?
Expect the Unexpected
Mediation is likely to proceed smoothly. But you may hear things that you disagree with or that have an emotional impact on you. At White & Associates, we do everything possible to protect our clients and to keep things moving toward a resolution. We often remind people to be respectful, even when negotiating challenging subjects. If you act respectfully toward the other party, that person is more likely to treat you with respect.
We also remind our clients that we will be there with them, supporting them through the process so that they don’t have to face challenging negotiations on their own. If you would like us to support you in legal matters that involve mediation, you are welcome to contact us.