October Is a Great Time to Mediate

October is widely known as a month of Halloween, pumpkin-spiced lattes, and autumnal aesthetics — but did you know it’s the perfect time to try mediation? The month is home to Mediation Week (the third week of October) and Conflict Resolution Day (17th October).

Even if you’re not currently going through a divorce or another event that may require mediation, you never know when you or a loved one might encounter something similar in the future. So, it’s never a bad thing to clue yourself up about how mediation in Virginia works.

Why Mediation Is Useful

Even for couples that share a dedication to reaching a satisfactory agreement and allocating assets in the fairest way possible with a little compromise, the process of reaching that deal can be uncomfortable. Everyone is worried about getting taken advantage of, yet nobody fully understands the situation. Plus, emotions are often running high.

This is where a qualified mediator comes in — they guide couples toward a resolution. Having an impartial third party can make all the difference by ensuring that everybody feels represented and cutting down on conflict as much as possible.

How to Approach Mediation Successfully

Although you should always work with a professional when going through mediation, you can’t expect them to reach a resolution single-handedly. The process requires cooperation from all parties involved, including a willingness to compromise and be flexible. 

Here are a few tips to get the most out of the process.

Explain Your Reasoning

If you feel that something is unfair, don’t assume bad intent. Instead, explain your reasoning as impartially as possible — maybe your ex-partner genuinely hadn’t considered your perspective.

Safe in the knowledge that a mediator will communicate your case to the other side in a way that encourages them to hear and understand, try to leave your anger and upset at the door.

Aim for a Mutually Beneficial Result

A mutually agreed-upon resolution is often possible, yet many people go into negotiations with the mentality that one person will get what they want and the other won’t. It doesn’t have to be this way — as long as both parties are willing to cooperate and clearly outline their priorities, an outcome that works for everyone is almost always achievable.

A mediator will do their best to reach that point, but you and your partner must have an attitude that allows you both to benefit. 

Focus on Solutions

A divorce is usually the product of extensive history, with plenty of problems faced and blame cast along the way. It’s only natural to spend time dwelling on that, but try not to bring it into the mediation process — just because someone was at fault in the marriage, it doesn’t necessarily mean their behavior should be accounted for when finalizing a divorce. Bitterness should certainly be left at the door.

Instead, focus on the outcome you want and how to make it happen.

Ready to Try Mediation?

Don’t enter into mediation just because it’s October — do it because mediation is a great solution for making it easier, quicker, and less emotionally draining to reach an agreement with your spouse.

But given the end of the year is nearing, it’s a great opportunity to get started on settling up in 2022. It will give you something to look forward to!

If you’re wondering who the right person to work through mediation with you is, look no further than Donita King. As an experienced lawyer-mediator, she can assist couples with divorce mediation to help them reach a mutually beneficial outcome. To find out more about how she can help you, contact her law offices today.

Donita King

Ms. King is a member of the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and D.C. State Bars. She also serves as a University of Richmond School of Law Adjunct Professor of Mediation. She previously served on the Virginia Bar Association Joint ADR Council (2015 Chair), and served for several years on the Governor of Virginia’s Interagency Dispute Resolution Council. Ms. King currently serves as a board member of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board by appointment of the Virginia Supreme Court and has been active with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Women in Business as well. Se habla espanol.

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