Mediation and Collaborative Law are both voluntary processes. This means that in order to proceed with one of these approaches, both people need to be willing to participate. You don’t need to be excited about the process (nobody is), but you do need to be willing to actively participate in your own case. One of the most common questions that people have is, “How do I get the other person involved?” Here are a few ideas for getting the other person involved in mediation or a Collaborative Law process:
Talk to them.
Most people who end up in either mediation or Collaborative Law talked between themselves and selected the process they felt would work best. If you have to go through a divorce or custody case, chances are that things are tense between you and your partner. Even if things are difficult, the two of you can probably agree that you would prefer to have a less expensive, more respectful process rather than an expensive, unpleasant legal battle. Educate yourself about the available options and then share the information with the other person.
Share online resources.
This website is a good resource for information about mediation and Collaborative Law. Other good online resources include Mediate.com, CollaborativePractice.com, CollaborativePraticeOregon.com and the Oregon Mediation Association. Consider emailing the other person a link to one or more of these websites. Give them some time to do their own research.
Talk to Forrest.
Forrest is always happy to talk to both people. If you have already talked to Forrest, we suggest that you invite the other person to call the office and Forrest will give the other person all of the same information he has given you. If you haven’t talked to Forrest but would like to, you can schedule a free 15-minute phone call to discuss your situation.
Talk to a friend.
Do you have a mutual friend who has gone through mediation or a Collaborative Divorce? Ask that person to talk to your spouse (or vice versa). Someone who is going through the divorce process is often skeptical, if not distrusting. A trusted friend can be a good way to inform your spouse about the available options. If you don’t have a friend who has gone through one of these processes, you probably have a friend who has gone through the traditional divorce process. Anyone who has gone through the traditional divorce process is likely to tell anyone who will listen that it is very unpleasant process to go through.
A joint consultation is probably the best way to get someone involved in the mediation or Collaborative Law process. Joint consultations are effective because both people get the same information at the same time. Further, both people have an opportunity to ask whatever questions they may have. A consultation is a great opportunity to figure out whether mediation or Collaborative Law is a better fit for your particular situation.
Give it some time.
Tensions are always highest immediately after the separation. If you wait for a few weeks or even a few months, it is likely that tensions will have subsided at least somewhat. This is particularly true because people tend to fall into a routine after the separation. New routines tend to have a calming effect on the divorce process. You might talk to your spouse and agree to give it a month before either of you takes any action regarding the divorce.
There is no “right” way to get someone involved in mediation or a Collaborative Law process. This article contains a few ideas about getting the other person involved in one of these processes. In reality, the right way to get the other person involved is whatever way that person responds to. If you aren’t sure about which approach to take, feel free to give Forrest a call and he will be glad to talk things through with you to help you figure out which approach will work best.