Separation and divorce
Suggesting mediation to your ex: 5 tips on how to approach the topic
Are you convinced that mediation can help you settle the consequences of your divorce or separation but you’re wondering how to persuade your ex to participate? Here are some tips to help you prepare a respectful and persuasive invitation.
1.Opt for a written invitation
If you know that your ex has some concerns or reservations about mediation, it may be better to send a written invitation. A written invitation will give your ex time to think.
Your ex can then learn more about it and discuss it with friends and family. A written invitation will show that you’re serious about it and give you the opportunity to clearly explain to your ex why you think mediation is the right solution for you both.
You can send your written invitation by any means of communication you prefer (e.g., email, regular mail, text message, private message on a social media account, etc.). Use communication channels you normally use with each other and that can ensure your message remains confidential.
2.State the topics you’d like to discuss
In your invitation, you can specify the topics you’d like to discuss in mediation to give your ex a clear understanding of what to expect.
When preparing the list of topics, try to be specific and comprehensive, without going into all of the details of your position on each one. For example, you could say that you want to use mediation to make a decision about dividing property you own together and the choice of your child’s school.
It may also be useful to let your ex know that the purpose of the mediation will be to find solutions for the future, not to discuss the reasons for your separation.
Of course, if you’ve forgotten a topic or if a new point of disagreement comes up later, you can still ask to bring it up in mediation. Stating the topics in advance simply allows your ex to better prepare for the process.
3.Suggest names of mediators
Your invitation should also include practical information such as:
- Who the mediator could be,
- Which of you will contact the mediator,
- When the mediation can take place.
This information will make your invitation more concrete and allow you to start the process more quickly if your ex accepts the invitation.
To this end, you can do some research beforehand and gather information for several professionals. Try to find mediators whose offices are easily accessible to you and your ex. You can include this information in your invitation, while letting your ex know that you welcome his or her suggestions.
You can also contact a mediator right away to make sure that he or she is available for a mediation mandate. If you do this, you can specify in your invitation to your ex that a mediator is already available to take charge of your file and is awaiting your ex’s call.
4.Share information about mediation
Mediation is a conflict resolution method that is still not well known. You can therefore include neutral information resources with your invitation that will help your ex to learn more about it on his or her own.
Here are a few suggestions of resources that you can direct your ex towards:
Info-separation service (Centres de justice de proximité)
Guide: Your Conflict, Your Solutions (Fondation du Barreau du Québec)
5.Set a deadline for a reply
If you’re concerned that your ex may not reply to your request, you can suggest a timeframe for a response in your invitation.
Your ex is not obligated to meet this deadline, but it can be a reassuring reference point for both of you. On the one hand, your ex will know that there’s some time to think about it. On the other hand, if you haven’t received a reply by the deadline, you’ll know that this is a good time to follow up with your ex or consider other options.
The deadline should be long enough to allow your ex to really think about your proposal, but it should also take into account the urgency of the decisions that need to be made. Therefore, although a period of 7 to 10 days is often suggested, it’s up to you to determine what seems reasonable in your situation.
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The information presented on this page is not a legal opinion or legal advice. This page explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. To obtain a legal opinion or legal advice on your personal situation, consult a legal professional.