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How to Survive a "Failed" Mediation

One of the first questions I often get during a consultation is "what if it doesn't work" or "what if mediation fails"?

I always respond with the following:

  • Bringing your concerns to the table is always a win because it helps to gain perspective for both sides

  • Not coming to a traditional agreement may be in the best interest of everyone

  • Mediation can help you to formulate a better plan for moving forward after having time to digest the conversation

  • It is always cheaper than going to court and can begin a series of more cost effective conversations

  • Allows the parties to reach a partial agreement which is not an option at trial

So, in truth, no mediation "fails". It may not have had the outcome that you wanted but it always has an underlying benefit. Mediation is not just one conversation but often numerous ones. It allows the parties to hear one another without making an immediate decision. It can also prove that trial is the best fit for both parties. Which is also a win because it provides clarity and certainty for next steps. Go into your mediation with the mindset that you will, at minimum, leave better informed and you will bypass the feeling of disappointment from "losing" or "failing". And remember that you can always choose to pause a mediation session to cool off and come back to the table later if you feel the discussion is derailing. There are multiple ways to protect the process and your emotional wellness. Let me know in the comments other ways to survive a perceived failed mediation!

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