Handling Shocking News During Mediation Proceedings

Mediation is a popular option for divorce. It’s more private than litigation, and it can be less expensive too. There are many reasons why people choose to go the mediation route in their divorce process. Some want to avoid the stress of litigation or trial because it’s not something they want to deal with or because they don’t have the money. Others may prefer mediation because they feel doing so will save legal fees. After all, the case won’t drag on. These are just the primary reasons why it’s become a popular divorce tool over the years.

It can be nerve-wracking to show up for mediation. On the one hand, you’re concluding your legal relationship. On the other hand, you don’t want to see or speak to your soon-to-be-ex. However, after the initial greetings, you begin to trust the mediator has everything well in hand.

What do you do then when you learn life-changing information for the first time? Mediation is a time when people finally feel safe enough to talk and disclose other personal details of their lives. Periodically, the mediator will repeat information said by your soon-to-be-ex as they were under the impression such information has already been disclosed. Sometimes, during a mediation session, people find out about additional children, affairs, secret money stashes, terminal illness diagnoses, and other shocking things. How do you handle this when you hear this information?

Ask the Mediator for Clarification

Often, when the mediator repeats information they were already under the impression you knew about, and you hear it for the first time, you’re mentally going to start thinking in several different directions. You won’t fully hear or understand what the mediator is saying or asking of you in the seconds that follow.

Interrupt the mediator politely, and ask them to repeat what they said to make sure you heard it correctly. Once the mediator confirms that you heard them correctly, ask to speak to your attorney if they are already not present. Inform your attorney about what just happened, letting them know you have never heard that information before.

Use the Few Minutes Alone to Collect Yourself

While your attorney is processing the new information, press pause on the proceedings. Ask for a short break. Use the time alone to collect your thoughts and your emotions. Excuse yourself from the room if necessary. All trained mediators, such as those found at Boulder mediation divorce, are aware that sometimes this happens.

What you heard may be challenging to hear, and while the other party in the transaction should have been fully transparent with their legal team far before this moment, in the real world, some secrets do not come out until now. Your attorney will know how to help guide you back to the task at hand. Please accept their assistance to do so at this time.

Write Down the News and Process it Later

The act of physically writing down the information on paper engages a different part of your brain. It also helps take some of the emotion out of the news. Putting it down on paper will remind you that you can process all the thoughts and scenarios it causes you to think and feel later. Your attorney will know how to handle the news and will work with you to guide you in the proper direction for the remainder of the mediation process. Take the time after the mediation proceeding to digest what you heard. Your attorney will be your closest ally at this time to help you decide how you want to move forward.

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