There are different styles of mediators.
I use structured negotiation steps that include giving clients an agenda for each meeting, a summary of the issues discussed and of the homework assigned at each meeting. This helps the couple to stay focused and provides predictability.
I also employ “interest-based negotiation” in which the parties pursue a process of mutual disclosure of information focusing attention on the interests, needs or concerns upon which their original positions were based. With this process, everyone fully understands the point of view of the other and why they want what they want. Very often this brings people to align and to find mutually satisfying solutions.
I do not use a “positional approach”, which means that I do not ask the lawyers or their clients to tell me what their position is at the outset. I wait until later in the process, when we have gathered all of the relevant information including the parties’ interests, needs or concerns, before I ask the parties what they want. I find “positional” negotiation to be less satisfactory for clients. My clients find it much more productive and comfortable to use “interest-based negotiation”.
These two strategies (having a clear structure and employing interest-based negotiation) provide a very comfortable and effective process.
If necessary, I encourage the couple to work with a neutral expert for specific issues, which may include parenting issues or gathering financial information.
Couples are encouraged to work with lawyers that are either trained in mediation or Collaborative Law or other professionals who support these methods.
After years of training in communication and personal growth, my approach to mediation brings people to:
- Clear communication
- Agreements that they respect
Clients who participate in mediation with me have really appreciated the clarity and efficiency of the process.