Skip to main content

Can't we all just get along? The biggest misconception about Mediation and Collaborative Law

One of the more common comments I hear when I tell people that I'm a mediator is

"It sounds great, but it wouldn't have worked for me." 

When mediation has been shown to be about 85% successful in most studies, why do so many people assume it won't work for their conflict?  The answer is that many people believe that difficult conflicts can only be resolved through compromise; by at least one side giving up something and admitting at least a partial defeat.  When the stakes are high enough, people believe you can only reach agreement or resolution by beating the other side or giving in.  Sure, if you're getting along and you mostly agree then talking it out can work, but if not you may as well prepare for war.  And wars always have clear winners and losers, right?

The power of mediation and collaborative law is how trained professionals
help people find answers when they're NOT getting along.

In actual practice, mediators and collaborative practitioners are specifically trained to help people have difficult conversations, and to find ways to break down conflicts that seem insurmountable.  In order for mediation and collaborative law to work you only have to have an open mind and be willing to do the work to face your conflict instead of hiding from it.

The real reason many people let lawyers negotiate for them or judges decide for them, is because they're unwilling to face the conflict they have with the other side, they're unwilling to have difficult conversations, and they're afraid of failing.  Sure, there are some cases where the other side is unwilling to be reasonable, but if everyone thinks that way, then everyone is unreasonable.  

To think about it another way check out this twitter thread using a conflict over pizza as the example:

For more information on how #mediation and #collaborativelaw actually work check out these articles:

A Collaborative Law Success Story - 4 part Video Series

You're Thinking about Conflict All Wrong

What Does it Mean to Call Yourself a Collaborative Lawyer?

Improving Negotiations using Collaborative Values: A Checklist of Tools

Why do People go to Court to get Divorced? Because that's where the money is...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened. In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects: 1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, be

Does a Criminal Record affect Child Custody?

If one of the parents in a custody case has a criminal record, the types of crimes on their record could have an effect on their chances of obtaining custody. In custody cases the issue is always going to come down to whether or not the best interests of the child might be affected. In the most extreme case, in which one parent has been convicted of first degree murder of the other parent, the law specifically prohibits visitation with the children until they are of a suitable age to assent. Similarly, but to a less serious degree, in making custody and visitation determinations the court will consider crimes that would cause one to question the fitness of a parent. These types of crimes would obviously include any violent crime convictions which could call into question whether the children would be in danger around a parent who has shown themselves to resort to violence when faced with conflict. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse offenses would call into question a parent&#

What happens after my Divorce Agreement is approved by a Judge?

If you filed a Joint Petition for Divorce in Massachusetts then you will participate in an uncontested divorce hearing and the Judge will then issue Findings of Fact the day of the hearing.  A Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue after thirty (30) days, and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This means that if you file a Joint Petition for Divorce you are not legally and officially divorced until 120 days after the divorce hearing date. If you filed a Complaint for Divorce  then your case will end either with a trial (if you don't settle) or an uncontested divorce hearing (if you settle).  If you reach an Agreement, then a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and be effective as of the date of the uncontested divorce hearing, and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This means that if you file a Complaint for Divorce you are not legally and officially divorced until 90 days after the divorce hearing date. Therefore, for 90 - 120 day