While the courts have now made mediation in parenting matters compulsory in most cases, a lot of judges are asking litigants in property cases to consider settlements as well.
Family law settlements tend to be emotional and fraught with tension. As such the best advice that I always give my clients is that when attending a settlement conference they should always walk in knowing what their best possible outcome is and what their least acceptable outcome.
By knowing where the ‘goalposts’ are and the space between them, when an offer is made or accepted that fits between the goalposts, my clients would know it was a good deal regardless of how they felt after a long day of emotional and tense negotiations – because it would be an outcome they knew they would accept during the time of deep thinking and preparation that they had invested in before the settlement discussions.
So always prepare well prior to mediation because going into a mediation session without knowing where the goalposts are means that when a goal is scored you will not be able to actually tell until it is too late.
By Nadia Messiha