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What Makes A Couple Ideal Candidates for Mediation?

July 31st, 2019 by Marta J. Papa

I strongly believe a divorcing couple should always consider the possibility of using mediation so they can make their own decisions about their divorce– instead of leaving it up to two attorneys and a judge.

So who can mediate?

Nearly any couple of spouses can mediate if they are civil enough to one another that they can tolerate sitting in the same room, across from each other, be able to express their needs and concerns, and listen to each other.

You do NOT have to still like each other, trust each other or want to be good friends when the divorce is over. Mediation by definition is “self-determination”.

Self-Determination–– that means to be a good candidate for mediation, you need to be able to determine for yourself what your needs and goals are and be able to articulate them verbally.

If you can express your needs clearly and are willing to listen to your spouse’s needs and goals with the intention of genuinely trying to create solutions that respect each other’s needs and goals, then you can mediate.

I teach divorce mediation to judges, lawyers, and mental health professionals for two different State Supreme Courts in the United States and I am often asked the question by trainees: “Can people mediate if they still fight a lot?”

My answer is: Yes, as long as they…

  1. Can determine for themselves what they need for the future
  2. Listen to their spouse’s needs for their future
  3. Are willing to explore possible options that will meet the needs of both parties

Wondering if mediation is a good option for you? Contact the Law Office of Marta J Papa for a St. Louis divorce mediator with over 30 years of experience.

Sometimes, I am blessed with clients who are both emotionally ready for the divorce, they have both accepted that divorce is imminent and they are past the shock and fighting stage.  These couples are what I could call my “ideal clients”.  They make it easy to mediate but couples don’t have to both be that ready for the divorce.  It is my job as the mediator to handle the conflict between the couple, the emotional outbursts and tendency to punish their spouse.  All of these reactions are natural reactions to the pain of getting divorced and well-trained mediators have tools to manage those reactions.