Jackass! Don’t Be One

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Don’t be a jackass! Ahh wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone heeded this advice? I’m specifically referring to the unpleasant behavior that can sometimes crop up in a divorce mediation. Mediation is the best way for a majority of families to resolve their issues. However, the parties and their attorney’s must realize that the mediation conference is vastly different from the courtroom in content and purpose.

The divorce court system is extremely adversarial, pitting the parties against each other until finally a “winner” is proclaimed. Parties and their teams gear up for the fight and it’s all about protecting, defending and huffing and puffing until the victor emerges. I’m generalizing, but you get the idea.

The problem emerges when this battle attitude makes its way into the mediation. As a mediator I’m not impressed with fancy lawyers and/or the well versed arguments of the parties themselves.   The most gifted legal minds will not impress me. Screaming and yelling, making the other side feel inferior or fearful, talking over others (or talking on your cellphone because you are just that important!) and generally just being a jackass, will not fly in my mediations and most likely will get the meeting cut short.

Why won’t this method work? I’m a mediator and NOT a Judge. No matter how brilliant your arguments and posturing are, I can not make decisions on the case. I do not have that legal authority to rule for one party or the other. I act as a neutral third party, guiding the parties to come to a mutual agreement decided by THEM.

Another reason why acting like a jackass in mediation is completely counterproductive is that since mediation is a voluntary process, the most important element is the parties right to self-determination. This means that it is completely up to the parties what will or will not happen in the mediation. If one party feels uncomfortable for any reason, including the conduct of the other side, they can have the mediation stopped immediately.

If you are interested in a successful, jackass-free mediation contact divorceharmony.com!

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