What to Do at Divorce Mediation
You've scheduled the mediation and are preparing yourself and your client for a divorce mediation. Here are a few things to consider leading up to and what to do when the day comes:
Who should come to the mediation? Yes, your client. But, anyone else? This is a tough call but one which should be addressed prior to the day of the mediation. That person who you think can help your client be reasonable can also complicate your negotiations if he or she disagrees with your analysis and assessment.
What is opposing counsel’s negotiation style? It would be nice to know before you get there. Ask around. Be prepared.
What is your mediator’s style? Know your mediator. Ask around. Use your mediator’s skills and experience to your advantage, both with the other side in your negotiations and with your client.
Mediations don’t have to be a battle. While your clients have their own reasons for wanting a pound of flesh and to see the other side suffer, you share a common problem with your opposing counsel – your clients’ distaste for one another. Work with opposing counsel to solve the problem that you both have. This can be done without making them part of the problem.
Remember that mediation is a process. It takes time. Prepare yourself and your client for it. Be patient, and let the process work.
Principled offers tend to be better received than those which have no basis. Look for opportunities to make principled offers in your negotiations at mediation.