How Do I Start Mediation with My Spouse
Don’t be a mediation cheerleader.
Let the ex-spouse know you are open to negotiate a fair settlement.
The decision to mediate should be your spouse’s own decision.
The decision to mediate should not be a pressured decision.
Mediation is far less draining on your financial, emotional and your time and money resource.
How to start the mediation process, simply invite your spouse
A common question we are asked is “how to start mediation for divorce” or “how to propose divorce mediation to my spouse”. At Divorce the Smartway, we receive many inquiries from separating couples seeking a Soft Landing Settlement for all involved. They may have come across a website, read an article in a newspaper or magazine, or a friend suggested they look into alternative dispute resolution aka family mediation, or divorce mediation. Many times they have not spoken with their spouse about using a mediator to reach an agreement. The challenge being if mediation makes sense for the family, how do you have your spouse come alongside in mediation by choice?
The decision to mediate should be your spouse’s own decision, not a pressured-into decision. Consider what will help your spouse come to this decision. References to websites, brochures, or a referral from a mutually trusted third person can be supportive of your spouse becoming informed, not pressured. Encourage them to do their own research.
Enrich the Mediation Environment
Enrich the would-be mediation environment by letting them know you are open to negotiate a fair settlement. Since mediation is voluntary, it is worth a try; give them some time to reflect on and consider divorce mediation. Agree to a proposed date to talk again after they have had a chance to look into mediation.
Can you be forced to go to mediation?
Other factors to consider are the timing of the invitation. Bringing up new ideas in the heat of an argument are rarely well received. Don’t be a mediation cheerleader. A person is more likely to entertain an idea if they feel they are free to make a choice. For some, a face-to-face conversation during the pre-divorce phase may not work best. Consider emails that encompass the ideas presented here, or even a note asking your spouse to “think about it,” or perhaps just a link to a mediation website like ours.
Can I skip mediation and go straight to court?
According to Section 7.3 of the Canadian Divorce Act, you are obligated to try to resolve separation and divorce disputes before going to court.
7.3 To the extent that it is appropriate to do so, the parties to a proceeding shall try to resolve the matters that may be the subject of an order under this Act through a family dispute resolution process. (Mediation)
This challenge is relative to the trust, communication styles and emotional temperature within the relationship. In preparation for the invitation to meditate, consider the positives of this direction: with mediation, the two of you control the cost and the pace. Divorce mediation is far less draining on your financial, emotional and your time and money resources, when compared with collaborative law, or arbitration or a litigated divorce. It’s less traumatizing, especially when children are involved. It is also private and confidential: discussions in mediation cannot be used against you if mediation is unsuccessful.
How We Can Help to Introduce Divorce Mediation
One approach to propose divorce mediation to your former spouse. Is to send an email with this Mediation Ground Rules and Intentions Template attached.
We find the Ground Rules and Intentions Template to be a very powerful document. Let me share with you why we believe so strongly in this.
You see, in separation and divorce, fear often hijacks our reasonable thought processes; this is known brain science.
You may have heard of the term ‘fight-or-flight response‘. This refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to our survival. It is this fight-or-flight response that family lawyers capitalize on with their huge fees and their adversarial ways.
One positive action you can take in your separation is to make an effort to bring down the level of fear. Sharing the Ground Rules and Intentions template with your spouse is like you saying:
- I am not here to fight, destroy you, or take you for everything.
- I value you as a parent (if you have children).
- It is a clear statement that you want a fair and amicable separation.
In my own separation many years ago, before I became a mediator, I remember being instantly overwhelmed by fear and anxiety the moment I received a letter from my wife’s lawyer. From that point forward, my reasonableness was hijacked. Her lawyer knew just how to fuel my fear and anxiety with regular emails, letters and court documents.
Sadly this set off a series of events that led to 3 years of lawyers and family court. I do not want that for you, or your family. That is why I became a divorce mediator.
Divorce law in Ontario favours equalization above all else. While that gets everything off to a good start, your ability to secure a neat divorce depends on your ability to work things out in the various agreements you must sign before, during, and after your marriage ends.
Are you having trouble reaching an agreement on your finances? Do you want to avoid going before the judge and asking for help? Consider working with a family mediator who can help you end your marriage in a way that is peaceful, cost-effective, and child-focused.
Would you like to learn more? Get in touch for a Get Acquainted Call to learn more about finding a separation agreement with a soft landing.
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Ken S, Maynard CDFA
Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM
I help smart and successful couples, create separation agreements with clarity and soft landings for secure futures, in 4 meetings or less without all the lawyer created overwhelming conflicts, confusion and costs. You can work with me by video conference or with a DTSW associate at any of our 6 DTSW Greater Toronto mediation centers, including | Aurora | Barrie | North York | Vaughan | Mississauga | Scarborough.
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Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FMhttps://divorcethesmartway.ca/author/wardman/May 23, 2023
Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FMhttps://divorcethesmartway.ca/author/wardman/June 2, 2022
Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FMhttps://divorcethesmartway.ca/author/wardman/June 1, 2023
Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FMhttps://divorcethesmartway.ca/author/wardman/March 17, 2022