Here is one example of how we do it at SB Mediation Center.
Uncontested Divorce Mediation Helps in Difficult Situations
We’ve changed the names of the parties to protect confidentiality.
The parties, Pat and Chris came to our office for a divorce mediation discovery session.
The parties agreed after the discovery session they wished to proceed with our mediation process. They did not wish to destroy their family through any protracted litigation. Through the beginning phases of the mediation process, things were moving along comfortably. That is when trouble struck.
Chris verbalized on a couple of occasions in the mediation session that Chris was not wanting the divorce. I asked what you would like to do. Chris stated Pat is breaking up our family, it is her fault! I asked Chris if he would like to reconcile. Chris stated no, still wanting to get the divorce done. Understandably, Chris is angry if he is not wanting to dissolve the marriage.
While we were in the same room I began asking many questions of Chris, gently (open, clarifying, probing) regarding the anger that Chris was presenting. We eventually got to a place of moving forward with negotiations again.
Near the end of the third session, Chris had a meltdown. I asked if the parties would be agreeable to caucus over the phone the next few days after the meltdown mediation. A caucus is a private and confidential conversation. Anyone can call a caucus at any point in the mediation process. They both agreed to have the caucus. I said I would email them to schedule a time.
When I spoke to Chris he had many angry rebuttals regarding the reasons for the divorce resulting in an anti-collaborative stance. I reflected back to him what I was hearing, with empathy. I said it is going to be difficult to resolve your divorce mediation if you are this angry. I asked Chris what he wanted to do regarding the parenting plan rotation. Originally, through the mediation process, he was okay with a 5-2-2-5 rotation if he was local. If he moved out of the area he would be good with most of the summers and rotating holidays, breaks from school.
He had to weigh out if he wanted to leave Colorado for another locale. The cost of living is a big factor for Chris. Chris also wanted to be a part of the children’s lives. We discussed the options for both situations. He agreed to stay local but put a plan in place if Chris decided to relocate.
He was non-committal regarding the options that we discussed previously. I reassured Chris that mediation was the process to address needs and Chris needed to tell me his needs, that way I could address them. Blaming the other party is not going to address his needs. Chris agreed verbally to the earlier agreements. I asked him to send me his proposal, via email. We are going to ask if Pat is willing to accept Chris’s offer(s). I am pretty sure we will gain consensus. If not, we just have to ask the parties what they want.
Pat was flexible regarding Chris’s desires.
We got the mediation back on track. We shall stay in a shuttle diplomacy style mediation to hopefully wrap up this divorce mediation.