Your friends have warned you that you should ask for as much as possible in your upcoming divorce mediation. That way, you’ll be guaranteed to get the things that are most important to you, and the things you give up won’t really matter to you. It’s the perfect strategy, right?

Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize is that not every divorce has to be a power and property struggle. One of the most efficient methods of separation is reaching an equitable compromise during divorce mediation. While neither party can be considered “winning,” there are also no losers in a compromise.

Getting Your Seattle Divorce Mediation Off to a Good Start

  • Start small. Always start each negotiation with an issue that you both agree on. It may be a small matter such as who gets the family cat, or a large financial issue such as who will live in the house. Either way, your goals are the same and this will build trust and open communication for the more difficult choices ahead.
  • Jump around. This is your divorce mediation, and it can be structured in whatever way works for you. You may have to skip ahead to more trivial issues if you are waiting for more information on the bigger questions—such as the estimated value of property of the full extent of an inheritance. By the same token, you may agree to return to an issue at a later time if you are unable to reach a compromise or if the discussion has become too heated to be productive.
  • Listen. It’s very rare that one party will walk out of divorce proceedings with exactly what they asked for. The best way to approach the situation is to be open to compromise, which means listening to your spouse's concerns. While you don’t have to agree with your spouse’s point of view, listening can help you figure out what is really important to him or her. If she is reluctant to share custody because your family has acted inappropriately around your children before, consider if the objection is valid instead of rejecting it immediately. If you agree that your family should not have contact with the children, specify that in the custody agreement. You are more likely to see your spouse act with the same good faith toward you if your spouse feels that he or she is being heard.

Are you ready to begin divorce mediation in Washington State? Click the links below to learn more about reaching an ideal compromise, or click the contact link at the top of this page to set up a consultation.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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