But what’s fair?
The NSM Mediation process for Separation and Divorce clients begins with private one-on-one meetings with the parties separately. In them, virtually every client says to me something like:
“I just want this to be fair.”
And I love hearing that every time.
It says to me that they’re not out to get everything they can.
They’re concerned about the other party.
They’re concerned about the children involved if there are children involved… I love hearing that.
People who come for mediation are good people who look at the process and think it’s a good one, one that’s fair and will work for everybody. And when people tell me they want me to be fair, with fair outcomes for everybody, I tell them how much I appreciate that, and that I agree: I want this to be fair for everybody and for everybody to leave feeling good about the outcome.
One thing people don’t realize, though, is that fair is a value judgment.
Fair is in the eye of the beholder.
There are various perspectives on what’s fair. If people just simply agreed on what was fair, then all we’d need after that was the legal information to know if the law also agrees it’s fair. But that’s not the case. Normally people have different perspectives on what’s fair, with different opinions on what should happen, even though they they all want things to be fair. So heading into mediation, I remind my clients that it’s important to listen to the other perspectives on what is fair and what is right, and to try to understand them. Normally, perspectives start to shift a little bit, or at least they start to appreciate another perspective.
If you kept score, you may have noticed Fairness was on my mind this season.
Check out my last post, What’s Fair Is Fair.
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