Any mediation will only be as successful as its participants’ cooperation. If either participating party is unwilling to compromise on any matter, it will likely be a waste of time and money for all involved.

In other words, a party can be advised of the great benefits of divorce mediation, but the choice to participate rests solely on their shoulders. Therefore, in this post we want to provide a few tips that will very likely lead to negotiating, and reaching, a successful agreement.

First, understand that the mediator is your friend and, in another sense, a messenger who conveys the desires of each person to the other. He or she is neither for you, nor against you. Rather, a mediator is a completely neutral party whose sole purpose is to negotiate an acceptable agreement between the parties. Becoming hostile or aggressive towards this person is an almost sure way to fail at mediation. Choose to appreciate and respect their negotiation skills with an open mind.

Second, come prepared. Go into negotiations with a clear picture of exactly what you want, how much you want, and reasons why it should belong to you. If child custody is an issue, create a mock visitation plan that you would like to see enforced. This will give the mediator a good foundation to begin discussions. If there are issues that are completely non-negotiable as far as you are concerned, be sure to let it be known up-front. This will save time.

Third, realize that you are not in a courtroom, your privacy is protected, and relax. It is very difficult to focus and think clearly with an anxious mind and tense muscles. The purpose of mediation is to find an acceptable middle ground for everyone and allow you to move on with your lives. It is a great tool for settling disputes in a quick, cost efficient, and less stressful manner.