When I first begin working with a couple for divorce mediation, I always want to hear their story. Hearing their history provides great perspective, helping me understand where they came from, where they are, and ultimately, where they want to be. Once this foundation is in place, a remarkable transformation can begin to take place. While there is nothing easy about going through a divorce—the process can be tenuous, challenging, and of course, very sad—it’s still very possible to end it in a place of peace and acceptance. To get couples to that point, I often use a solution-focused approach that helps them visualize their new future as individuals and a family, just one that is defined differently. By holding that picture in their minds, they’re better able to stay focused on making that goal a reality.
Whether you work with me or another mediator, answering a few important questions both before and during the mediation process can help you reach your best new future. Here are a few that I ask my clients that may help you, too:
1.) When mediation is done, what do you want your life to look like?
2.) What’s your best outcome? What’s the worst?
3.) What topics are the most challenging for you both to discuss? What would help make them easier to tackle?
4.) How much work are you willing to do outside of the mediation office? (The more you’re able to communicate and discuss outside of your sessions, the quicker and less expensive the process will be.)
5.) Are their any areas that you will not compromise on and are you both aware of they are?
6.) Do you have someone (a friend or therapist) who is working with you to help process your feelings? If not, are you willing to seek out additional support?
7.) What has been your communication style while married? How effective was this? And if not very, are you willing to work to improve it?