Here are 3 easy ways. While you may clearly see all the benefits of mediating your divorce or separation, if your Ex doesn’t want to mediate, you’re stuck!
Here are three easy options to help you get unstuck and give mediation the best chance to help. Get them to mediate.
Include your Ex from the very beginning
I’m always amazed at the number of mediators who have face to face – or these days I guess, Zoom – meetings with one person when the other person hasn’t a clue that mediation is being considered.
Let’s assume that trust between you and your Ex is damaged resulting from the break-up. Then, put yourself in your Ex’s shoes – if s/he had found a mediator, met with that person, told them ‘all sorts of untruths’ about the past and then turned around and said to you: ‘I think this mediator is great, you need to meet them,’ you’d likely be suspicious. Anything that your Ex thinks is great is perhaps more than a little suspect.
Try to include your Ex in the discussion about the mediation option and in the search process for finding a properly qualified and experienced mediator.
Offer to pay for the MIAM (that’s the introductory ‘Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting)
Consider this option if your Ex is complaining about a lack of money, a common complaint at separation/divorce. You can save tens of thousands of pounds by going the mediation route. Not only can you save serious amounts of money, mediation also helps to keep the emotional costs of conflict to a minimum.
If your Ex agrees to attend the MIAM, it doesn’t mean s/he’s agreeing to mediate, it just means that s/he’s agreeing to have a look. After all, choosing to mediate is always voluntary. If you can enable this exploratory meeting between your Ex and the mediator to take place, you have, based on information at my mediation practice, a 94% chance that mediation will go ahead.
And once you’re in mediation, there’s a 75% chance you’ll reach agreement. Even in those cases that don’t reach agreement, clients are far ahead in their progress towards a settlement. They figure out what they do and don’t agree about and, in financial cases, have usually agreed their financial disclosure.
Keep the door to mediation wide, wide open
If your Ex does not want to mediate right now, then we need to understand, acknowledge and respect that view. There are, after all, at least 8 ways to reach a financial settlement or parenting plan when you split up. If you want to see a free table setting out these choices, just drop me a line, you’ll find me in The Hug Directory.
Divorce and separation are a time of turmoil for many and we’re all allowed to change our minds. Let your Ex know that, if s/he doesn’t want to mediate right now, that’s OK, but that your offer to mediate is an open offer. At any moment that your Ex is ready to sit with you and talk together about what might happen next, financially or as parents, then you’re there.
The best family solicitors often support and actively encourage their clients’ participation in mediation.
It is frequently the case that, having talked with his or her solicitor about the mediation option, your Ex then decides to give it a go. Mediation is not a one-time opportunity, it’s an Open Door. In my 20+ years as a mediator, I’ve worked successfully both with couples who have not yet separated or ‘told’ the children and with those who have already spent tens of thousands of pounds on contested legal proceedings and have nothing yet resolved. Indeed, I’ve had clients use mediation with great results even where one of the parties is remarried and has had further children.
Mediation is wonderfully helpful when both parties – and the mediator, who has to check that mediation is suitable – when both parties choose voluntarily to take part. Sometimes though, you might need to nudge your Ex in the right direction. And there’s an excellent chance you’ll both be very glad you did.
Gillian Krajewski mediates at Krajewski Mediation and you can find her in The Hug Directory