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How truly listening can help the divorce mediation process


The events leading up to a divorce can involve a great deal of emotional upheaval for both spouses. Whether it is sadness, anger, jealousy, abandonment or all of the above, it is safe to say that Rhode Island residents going through a divorce run through a gamut of emotions.


However, sometimes spouses, despite the emotional effects of a divorce, find that they want to find some way to work together to settle their issues without having to go through litigation. For these individuals, divorce mediation may be something to consider. If they decide to try mediation, it is important that each spouse understands what the mediator does.

In general, a mediator is a neutral entity that facilitates conversations between the spouses as they settle their divorce legal issues. It is important to keep in mind that just because the mediator is taking their time to listen to your spouse doesn't mean that you won't also have an opportunity to have the mediator listen to your desires and concerns as well. Mediators will intently listen to each side, and will ask questions to both clarify what a spouse is saying and also summarize what a spouse is trying to communicate. The mediator is not making any decisions about which spouse is "right" and which spouse is "wrong." They are helping the parties communicate so they can come to a settlement.

Moreover, it can help for spouses to be good listeners too, even though this may have been difficult prior to the divorce. In fact, a spouse can validate their ex's feelings and opinions without necessarily agreeing to them. This only means that the two parties are communicating in a productive manner.

Reaching a divorce settlement is not always easy, but with the help of a mediator, it can be done. Even if a couple cannot resolve all their issues through mediation, having a partial settlement may be of value and the remaining issues can be decided by a judge. Mediators make it possible for divorcing parties to part on grounds that they both deem fair.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Secrets of a Successful Divorce Mediation," Alison Patton, April 21, 2015

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