How to minimize the cost of mediation

Over our years of mediating, we have found that there are five key things we can do and five key things you can do to minimize the cost of mediation. Put together, these ten things can save a lot of time and money.

Five things we will do to minimize costs: 

  1. We will provide you with a structured process that helps you to do as much of the work as possible on your own time. 

    We will send you a written summary following each mediation session that not only records the accomplishments of that session, but also set out the suggested “homework” and proposed agenda for the next session. This increases the productivity of each session because at every point in the mediation process you know where you’re heading and what you need to do to get there. 
  1. In consultation with you, we will establish priorities among the wide range of mediation topics, so that your attention is focused on the key issues.

    It turns out that in most divorce mediations there are just one or two, or at most three, key issues which, if resolved to both clients’ satisfaction, enable all the other issues to fall into place rapidly. 
  1. When appropriate, we will share with you solutions that have worked for other couples.

    Then the two of you, acting together with our help, will figure out which solution makes the most sense for your family. The path of separation and divorce is heavily travelled in our society, and there are standard ways of handling most divorce issues. Although you are encouraged to be creative in mediation, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. 
  1. We will ask you to tell us your own ideas for creating an efficient process.

    We recognize that you know your own relationship dynamics and learning styles better than any outsider ever will. 
  1. We will invite you to contact us between mediation sessions if you need clarification or encouragement to complete your homework assignments.

    There is no charge for these brief phone calls or email interchanges, and these contacts can make a real difference to people in mediation.

Five things you can do to minimize costs: 

  1. Listen to each other with real respect and interest.

    If you can listen, even when you disagree with the content of what’s being said, then it’s almost guaranteed that your mediation will be successful and cost-efficient. It’s vitally important in mediation that you each know in advance that you will be fully heard and not interrupted, that your views and feelings will be taken into account. 
  1. No zingers!

    Harsh or insulting language slows down conflict resolution. By contrast, if you use neutral language, you will increase the chances that your ideas will be influential.  
  1. Do your best to focus on the future.

    Mediation provides an effective and humane process for helping people to make good plans for the future, even in high-conflict situations. However, mediation is not designed to determine who is to blame for things that went wrong in the past. 
  1. When you receive our session summaries, please review them carefully.

    Send us your edits, so that together we can maintain an accurate record of the work accomplished in mediation. If you have suggestions for the agenda for the next session, please let us know. If you have questions about the “homework,” contact us for clarification. If the homework includes providing documents, it will save mediation time (and fees) if you either bring three copies of each document to the session, or email the documents to us in advance so that we can prepare the copies. 
  1. If, at any point in the mediation process, you find yourself feeling upset or under great stress, tell us what’s happening.

    Your feelings and your thinking matter a great deal to us.

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