Sometimes You Need to Give Them Reasons to Mediate

Kalamazoo Divorce Lawyer Blog by Jeff Murphy

So you would like to mediate your divorce, but you think you’ll have a hard time convincing your spouse to go along.

I’m assuming he or she is ready to end the marriage as well and having a conversation about how to do it won’t be a surprise.

Here are some opening lines that might be helpful:

“You know- John/Mary -J/M- neither one of us wants to make some lawyers rich at our expense. You heard how much the Smiths had to pay and it ended up hurting them. We don’t want that to happen to us, do we?

(This is where you get your spouse’s “buy-in”. Don’t ask the next question until you get agreement on this very basic question)

The strategy is to get a SERIES of small agreements or “buy-ins”.

J/M- “Many of those guys are out for themselves and they create battles and fights couples don’t really want-RIGHT?”

“So, can we agree to find another way, instead of an expensive court fight – that’d be really bad for the kids-RIGHT?”

Now you have your spouse agreeing with you three separate times and it’s time to suggest an alternative to a court fight.

“J/M, I’ve been on the Web, and I found that mediation could be just what we’re looking for.”

“We both want a fair split settlement, RIGHT? We both want what’s best for the kids, RIGHT? A mediator can help us get there without a fight and its way less expensive.  We both want that, RIGHT?”

“I like the idea that it’s private. We won’t be washing our dirty linen in public. We sure don’t want that-RIGHT?”

” You may be a little scared that you’ll be boxed in and forced to make an agreement you don’t really want. RIGHT? But that’s not a problem. You know why? Because mediation is completely voluntary. If either one of us doesn’t think the settlement is fair, we can end the mediation and go to court as though the mediation never happened. That’s fair, RIGHT?”

“Not only that, any compromises either one of us offers in the mediation can’t be used against us if we end up going to court..”

“I like that, don’t you? RIGHT?”

Now that you’ve gotten all those agreements, it’s time to call a mediator, RIGHT?

                        author

Jeff Murphy

Jeff Murphy is a trained mediator and an attorney with over 35 years of business, civil and commercial legal experience. He was born and raised in New York CIty where he attended Columbia and Fordham. He ventured westward to join The Upjohn Company years ago and served as Senior Counsel… MORE >

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