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  • Laura L. Van Tassel, Esq.

How to Propose Mediation or Collaboration to Your Spouse

So you have just learned there is a new kinder, gentler, less expensive why to get divorced using either the collaborative or mediation divorce process, and you have decide to propose mediation or collaborative into your divorce. When doing this it’s important to convey to your spouse your willingness to consider his or her point of view on whether, when, how, and with whom to start the process. Provide your spouse with information without making your spouse feel like it’s about being sold a bill of goods. You want to make sure that your spouse has the information he or she needs to properly consider this process. This sets the stage for successful negotiations once you get started.

Use these tips to have a productive conversation:

Do your homework

Find out everything you can about mediation or collaboration, how it works, what it costs, and who offers it in your area.

Give neutral reasons to mediate or collaborate

Point out that mediation or collaboration is inexpensive for both of you and that it will help you come up with a fair and amicable settlement.

Offering Brochures and Other Materials Tell your spouse what you’ve learned about mediators or collaborative lawyers in your area. Share brochures or other printed materials from potential mediators or collaborative professionals.

Don’t try a hard sell

Give your spouse a short summary of why you think using mediation or collaboration is a good idea, offer to share the information you have, and give your spouse the choice of mediators. Then back off and wait for your spouse’s answer. Your spouse is more likely to participate fully in the mediation or collaboration if there’s no feeling of pressure.

Don’t threaten or patronize

It’s one thing to say that mediation or collaboration will cost less and be less acrimonious than litigation. It’s quite another to say that you will take your spouse to court and to the cleaners if your offer to mediate or collaborate is turned down. Remember, mediation and collaborative law are voluntary. Show your spouse you understand this by avoiding ultimatums. And try not to sound like an expert on the subject when you share the information you’ve collected. Mediation—or collaboration—is a negotiation between equals. You don’t want your spouse thinking you feel superior before you’ve even started.

Don’t give up

If your spouse doesn’t respond to your proposal, or turns you down don’t give up on the idea. Your spouse may need a reminder, or the time may not be quite right. Look for an opening and ask again.

Since the choice is both of yours, educate yourself, so you have answers to their good questions, and think about how you will feel once the divorce process is over and you look back at how you handled yourself, how you created a 'future after divorce.'

Once your spouse learns about the Mediation or the Collaboration Process, he or she may agree it’s the way to go. If you would like more information for yourself visit or contact me at :


Laura Van Tassel 201. 664.8566 |

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