The Preparation essential to Separation

January 10, 2018

Whenever I am contacted by a new client, one thing that’s important to me is good preparation.
In fact, preparation is everything.
And when I think about preparation and how important it is, the most important preparation happens for the client. Of course I have to prepare as well, getting documents and information, and being personally ready to give my best for my clients. But it’s the preparation that happens within the clients themselves that makes all the difference.

There’s a subtle but profound difference between getting ready and being prepared.
Getting ready means getting your things together. In Mediation, it’s having paperwork and plans in order; often it’s about having your financial documents ready to discuss future division of assets like the house, and expenses like the kids’ extra-curricular activities.

While this is important, being prepared is having the clients themselves ready, mentally and emotionally, to map out this critical turning point in their lives.

I sometimes have clients who would like the process to go quicker, because they value their time and their money, and they also want to get it over with as soon as possible. But I resist the urge to rush the process, because when we do, there’s the potential for people to be not at their best when it comes to the mediation sessions. When I talk to people on the phone, and then when I meet with them privately, the biggest and most important outcome of those preparation times is that clients now have their heads and their hearts in the best place possible, to be ready to do mediation well.

Nothing hinders productivity in mediation more than people whose attitudes, feelings, motivations, etc. are not aligned with the values of mediation and a collaborative process (one example I see on occasion is when two parties in the separation are at different stages of grieving).
Not being prepared hinders productivity even more than not getting ready with the paperwork, documents or information we need to use.
Nothing gets in the way of progress in mediation more than what’s happening inside people.



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