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Preparing for Divorce Mediation - RI: What is the Conflict About?

Preparing for Divorce Mediation begins with thoughtful considerations about the reason for going to mediation at all. Something happened in the marriage causing you to travel down the road to divorce. That "something" brings various feelings, including anger, fear, resentment, confusion. All of these feelings can be resolved in mediation.

However, how do you begin to prepare for a discussion in mediation? Do not focus on the feelings. Start with "What is the conflict really about for you?" And also consider, as a good negotiator, what is the conflict about for your spouse. Is the conflict about assessing blame for the problems in the marriage? Or is the conflict about how you will be able to move on financially, perhaps mentioning that one party may have contributed more to the dissolution? Focusing on assessing blame may ease the pain, but will not help in moving forward to find a financial settlement.

Is there a child to consider? What is that conflict really about? Often people will want to have a child a majority of the time, accomplishing two things - a feeling that he/she is the better parent and also punishing the other parent by limiting parental time. However, that conflict should be guided by what is in the best interest of the child, no matter if the result fails to make you feel like he/she is the better parent. Too often I see one parent wanting the other to have the child only on alternate weekends and one dinner each Wednesday. Is that appropriate for a child to develop a healthy parental bond with both parents?

Regarding finances, what is that conflict really about? Often, people state that they want a set percentage of the assets; they never consider what that means. Well prepared negotiators know what they need to move forward, whether it be to cover living expenses, purchase a home, or have the ability to maintain health insurance and retirement.

What would you like to accomplish at mediation? What does the mediator need to understand to help you accomplish your goals? What does the other party need to know to understand?

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Law Office of Steven J. Hirsch, Esq

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