Starting the conversation about divorce mediation with a partner can feel very uncomfortable and if the conversation becomes argumentative, the conversation can influence the tenor for conversations to come.
9 Tips for Beginning the Conversation About Divorce Mediation
Choose a time to talk that suits your partner. Choose a time where they tend to be more receptive. Consider whether it is a hectic time or a time when there are work issues at the forefront of your partner’s mind. If you select a time to begin the conversation concerning mediation and your partner suggests they are not in the right mindset, ask to select a time to speak later and trust that the time is likely to be a better opportunity.
Use neutral language to suggest the conversation. This will set a foundation for moving toward the discussion. For example, separation may be a good topic to begin the conversation as opposed to immediately discussing divorce. Language that pushes buttons should be avoided.
Before starting the conversation, think about the areas or concerns that mean the most to your partner. For some spouse’s finances are a primary concern. Others are fearful that a divorce will harm the children. Consider these concerns in advance of your discussion and determine how you can address them in a way that is respectful. Draft some talking points that can serve as a guide if the conversation becomes stressful or argumentative.
By thinking about your spouse’s concerns in advance, you can prepare yourself for listening to these concerns without rushing to judgment and in peaceful way.
If you are considering divorce, it is likely both parties are being hurt in the marriage in some way. How could separating help both of you? How can your spouse benefit by considering divorce mediation? Is there a way that you and your spouse can handle difficult issues such as splitting assets in a way that will be a win-win? Suggesting that you would like to move forward in a way where there is the least pain and damage to each of you can set the stage for a win-win situation.
In addition, to avoiding conflict, it is wise to avoid language that causes confusion. Try to be a clear as you can in your expressions.
Stay focused on attempting to move forward with mediation as an option. Be clear that the mediation is a big step in itself toward a healthy divorce for everyone. It is not the time to start discussing details about the issues you will face moving forward. Save the details for when you are with a neutral third party who can help you to plan a positive future for both parties.
Remain mindful of your incremental goal, to come to an agreement about scheduling a mediation consultation.
Remain mindful that language can be construed in ways that evokes power, control, and competition. If you sense your language is being construed in such a way, speak with clarity and empathy and without controlling language or intent.
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