Many people don’t believe divorce mediation will work for them because they cannot have a productive discussion with the spouse that they are divorcing. If they could communicate well, would they have been able to avoid divorce in the first place?

It is important to understand that even if you often argue with your spouse, divorce mediation may still be a viable option as long as you are willing to follow the instructions of your mediator, and as long as you are open to following the rules of effective communication. Arguing about aspects of your marriage is very different from working together to divide your property and create a parenting plan for your children.

First and foremost, be sure that you speak with your mediator about the guidelines of effective communication: active listening, compromise, and understanding. When your spouse is speaking, listen to what they say, take notes, and make eye contact with them. Before you begin your response, make certain that you understand what they said and why. Pay attention to your own tone, volume, and body language—how you say something can be just as important as what you say.

Secondly, be sure to accept the help of your mediator, he or she is there to help you communicate and to avoid conflict. Your mediator can assist you in many ways—including helping you communicate points, understanding your spouse, and working toward a solution.

Finally, make an effort to keep your emotions in check. While divorce can be an extremely emotional process, the divorce mediation process can be harmed by an overly emotional approach.

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