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How to Get Your Spouse to Agree to Mediation

One of the initial challenges in mediation that you may face is getting your spouse on board to give it a try. When your marriage is ending, and both of you are going your separate ways, it can be hard to be on the same page about anything, much less mediation. Use the following tips to help you ask (and convince) your spouse to mediate the divorce.

Be prepared

As with anything, preparation is critical. While you don’t need to be an expert on divorce mediation, having enough background knowledge to understand why it interests you is essential. Do some research ahead of time. You might be able to find all you need to know with a simple online search, but if you are missing information, contact a professional for those details.

Communicate carefully when asking your spouse to mediate your divorce

Once you have the details about mediation, communicate carefully with your spouse. Keep in mind that you may both be reeling from the changes taking place, so this is a great time to tread lightly.

Choose a time when conflict is limited between the two of you. Don’t pick the moment that a child is challenging or one of you is late to a meeting. You know when those moments are, and the best thing you can do is to avoid them.

In some cases, direct conversation consistently leads to conflict. If that’s the case for you, it does not mean you can’t use mediation to resolve your difference. Consider sending an email or text instead. Not only does it give the other person a few minutes (or hours) to think about their response, but it allows them to do so at a time that is convenient for them.

If necessary, reach out to your mediator for assistance. On rare occasion, I work with clients who request that I contact their spouse on their behalf. In those cases, I send either an email or a letter introducing myself and the mediation process. I also invite the spouse to schedule a call to discuss any questions or concerns they may have.

Share resources

If you have been doing your research online about divorce mediation, share the resources you find with your spouse. If the resources convinced you that mediation is right for your situation, they may very well convince your spouse as well.

Focus on the benefits of divorce mediation

Just because you want to do something doesn’t mean that your spouse will be convinced as well. Focus on how mediation will benefit both of you. For example, mediation allows for:

·       Putting your family first

·       Greater control over the outcome

·       Privacy

·       Affordability

…among other things. When you know the benefits of mediation ahead of time, you’ll be able to convey them to your partner, increasing the possibility that they will agree to mediation.

Don’t force the issue

No matter what you do, don’t force the issue of mediation with your spouse. Ideally, you want an amicable settlement and angering or irritating the other party will only result in frustration on both sides.

Common Questions Your Spouse May Have About Divorce Mediation

What is the cost of mediation?

Some mediators charge a flat fee, while others charge an hourly rate. To get a range of costs, contact a few mediators and talk to them about how they charge.

How do I prepare for divorce mediation?

Being prepared for divorce mediation not only speeds up the mediation process but also lends itself to more favorable outcomes for you. To prepare for your divorce mediation, I recommend doing the following:

·       List your concerns

·       Brainstorm possible solutions to your concerns

·       List your questions

·       Collect financial documents needed to make decisions

·       Have property appraised if necessary

·       Bring paper and pen to take notes or a laptop if you prefer

·       Bring your calendar to schedule your next session

·       Get a good night’s sleep

·       Eat beforehand or bring a snack if you’ll be meeting over a mealtime

·       Bring a beverage and stay hydrated during the session

How long does divorce mediation take?

Several factors determine how long divorce mediation will take. I recently wrote a whole post on the topic. The five factors I identified are as follows:

·       How prepared you are

·       How complicated the issues are that need to be addressed

·       How willing you both are to compromise

·       The mediator’s skill level

·       Scheduling/availability to meet

If you have additional questions about mediation or about how to approach the subject of mediation with your spouse, contact us. We would be happy to discuss your questions and concerns.


Leah Hadley, AFC, CDFA

Leah Hadley is an experienced mediator, Accredited Financial Counselor, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics. After going through her own divorce after ten years of marriage, her goal is to ease the stress of divorce by making the process as painless as possible for couples… MORE >

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