Parties enter mediation with hopes for a smooth process and easy resolution. Expectations frequently disappoint
when the same relational issues that created discord in the marriage emerge in mediation. Instead of calmly coming to agreement, parties find themselves glaring, breathing hard, and losing hope. When mediation stalls, what can you do?
Resolve to never give up; never surrender.
Never give up
Michael Hyatt, speaker, writer, and top blogger, recently posted an encouragement to his readers to refuse to quit, even when the going gets tough. Even when a setback seems fatal. The same applies to mediation.
Parties enter mediation hoping to reasonably settle all issues. Promising each other to work together. Then, a huge setback hits. The finances require invading a pension plan–with huge penalties. One parent refuses to budge on a parenting schedule, leaving the other feeling betrayed. Both want the house with the kids.
When positions clash and there seems no way to move forward, parties can feel tempted to give up. To go hire an attorney. To retreat to a safe place while the court hashes it out.
Parties in this spot do well to consider the story of Heather Dorniden. As Hyatt related in his post, in 2008 the highly favored Dorniden took the lead in the Big Ten Indoor Track Championship 600 meter race. Just 200 meters shy of the finish line, she fell flat on her face. As all the runners passed her, spectators groaned and the announcers declared her race over. But, she got up, willed herself to keep going, and won. From dead last.
Parties in mediation often feel knocked flat on their face. If you find yourself on the ground, don’t quit.
Instead, get up. Dig deep to find the will to keep going. As parties commit to making the process work, they find a way. A way much better than anything the court would order.
Never surrender to the idea that the courts know better what will work in your life. That attorneys will work together more effectively than the two of you. That more fair settlements can be achieved by those who–
- don’t know you,
- don’t understand your finances, and
- have never met your children.
Instead, focus on what ultimately matters. When all the dust settles:
- What will matter most to you in moving forward?
- What will it take for your children to feel secure, loved, and relieved of the responsibility to make your divorce work?
- What arrangement will it take for the you of you to join as parents through all the coming stages?
Creatively brainstorm all the ways these top priorities can be achieved. Then, get up and keep going.
Because, while many clients face a moment where they feel totally defeated, most move on to real victory. They build a new life. They find ways to join together for the sake of the children. They achieve the cooperative agreement they envisioned when they started mediation.