Divorce Mediation: #5 of 10 Reasons to Aviod Adversarial Divorce Litigation | Forest Lake, MN
#5. Unilateral action is fostered, rather than collaborative achievements.
“This is my position, and I am going to fight for it…” When two people take opposing sides on any particular issue in a disagreement, they both often refuse to budge from their conflicting viewpoints. The basic reason why many people fail to find agreement is that each has taken what is known as a ‘position.’ One wants something that the other doesn’t. The end result is a stalemate. Too often people respond to the stalemate by looking for ways to force the other into accepting their position. These battles never end without casualties.
It’s like kids in a playground yelling back and forth, ‘Can too!’ followed by the equally persuasive reply of, ‘Can not!’. We often see this grown-up version resonate in negotiations as well. The crucial question that neither party has asked, is for the other to explain the reason and motivation behind their position. The motivating forces or reasons which underlie their negotiation positions are what we refer to as their ‘negotiation interests‘. Interests are the ‘why’ or the basis for the position.
The main problem is that the people involved in a conflict always know the positions of the parties, but they often neglect to understand why the other person has taken this position in the first place. A second problem is that positions are often based on faulty or incomplete understanding of the situation… and they are rarely the best solution for the issue.
Mediation uses an impartial person to guide a course of action whereby individuals generate informed decisions and mutually acceptable agreements. A mediator can guide you through a step-by-step process designed to help you examine your situation in the terms of your needs and interests. Relevant information is gathered and shared, possible solutions are generated, and settlement options are developed and discussed to be sure they fairly meet everyone’s goals. When both parties understand one another’s interests and discover any interests they both have in common, options for a win/win solution are easier to generate.
Adversarial litigation teaches people the opposite of the skills they will need to create a healthier and more peaceful future – according to Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D. Here are ten points adapted from Sullivan’s July 2010 presentation to the Minnesota chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).