So many people ask us how to introduce divorce mediation to your spouse. At Divorce the Smartway, we receive many inquiries from a spouse seeking information about the DTSW Divorce Mediation method as an option for their divorce. They may have come across a website, read an article in a newspaper or magazine, or a friend suggested they look into mediation. Many times they have not spoken with their spouse about it. The challenge may be, if mediation makes sense for the family, how do you invite your spouse to come along in a choice to mediate?
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.
Don’t be a Cheerleader
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.
Relative to the Trust
This challenge is relative to the trust, communication styles and emotional temperature within the relationship. In preparation for the invitation to mediate, 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 time resources, when compared with collaborative law, arbitration or litigation. 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.