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Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To:

How Do I Get My Spouse To Consider Mediation?

Financially Smart Divorce


For more than 25 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade's trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a best-selling Canadian financial author.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To

How Do I Get My Spouse To Consider Mediation?

Financially Smart Divorce

Family Mediation: Because Divorce Doesn't Have to Be a Battlefield

So, you’ve reached that heart-wrenching decision that it’s time to part ways. But here’s the kicker: you want to do it without turning your life (and your finances) into a scene from a dramatic courtroom TV show. You’re thinking mediation, and you’re on the right track. But how do you get your soon-to-be ex-spouse on board with the idea? Let’s break it down.

Step 1: Drop the Drama, Bring the Facts

First things first, approach the conversation like you’re presenting a case to a judge, but with less legalese and more heart. Mediation is about finding a middle ground that respects both parties’ needs and desires. It’s not about winning or losing. Highlight the benefits:

  • Cost: Mediation is significantly cheaper than a court battle. Who wants to give their hard-earned cash to lawyers when you could be investing in your future (or, let’s be real, enjoying some well-deserved vacations)?
  • Time: It’s quicker. You could spend years fighting it out in court, or you could be moving on with your life.
  • Control: You both get to call the shots, not a judge who doesn’t know you from Adam or Eve.
Step 2: Timing is Everything

Don’t broach the subject when tensions are high or when one of you is about to rush off to a meeting. Find a calm, quiet time to discuss your future. Maybe even prepare a nice meal first. Breaking bread can sometimes soften the hardest conversations.

Step 3: Use “I” Statements

This isn’t about accusing or blaming. It’s about expressing your desires and concerns for the future. “I feel mediation would allow us to end our marriage with respect and dignity,” sounds a lot better than, “You’re going to drag this out and make us both miserable.” See the difference?

Step 4: Highlight the Benefits for the Kids (If You Have Them)

Mediation sets a powerful example for your kids about handling difficult situations with grace and maturity. It’s about showing them that even when things don’t go as planned, you can still work together to find the best outcome for everyone involved.

Step 5: Bring in the Backup

Sometimes, hearing about the benefits of mediation from a neutral third party can make all the difference. Consider consulting a mediator for an initial session to discuss what mediation involves and how it could work for you. Sometimes, a little professional perspective is all it takes to turn the tide.

The Bottom Line

Divorce is tough, no question about it. But it doesn’t have to be war. Mediation offers a path that can preserve your dignity, your sanity, and your wallet. It’s about making smart choices for your future, and sometimes, the smartest choice is knowing when to compromise and collaborate for the greater good.

So, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts, and have the conversation. The future you deserve starts with the decisions you make today. And who knows? This could be the first step toward a new beginning that’s filled with hope, healing, and a whole lot of peace of mind.

6 Helpful Tips For Getting Your Spouse To Consider Mediation

If you are the one who has suggested divorce mediation to your spouse, there is a chance your spouse may resist the idea. When facing divorce, our spouse may mistrust your intentions, may be hesitant to anything you suggest, or may be avoiding any legal discussions.

Often a spouse may simply not understand what is meant by family mediation or be in a place to consider the benefits that family mediation affords. Here are a few of the common misconceptions about family mediation, along with responses that may help you convince your spouse that the mediation process is appropriate for your separation or divorce:

“I don’t want relationship counselling”

Tip 1: Mediation is not marriage counselling. Mediation is a legal process. Mediators and relationship counsellors both use conflict resolution tools, but the family mediator’s sole focus is to help you reach an agreement with your spouse on issues pertaining to your separation.

They are not being retained to save your relationship, but rather they are there to help you negotiate the legal processes and ensure that things don’t get worse or even break down entirely.

“We can save money doing it ourselves”

Tip 2: While nearly everyone understands that going to court is expensive, almost as many believe that doing it themselves will save money.

However, the people doing this are not professionals and unfortunately they don’t know what they don’t know. Doing it yourself often means you neglect required steps of the process, making it far more likely your agreement would be invalidated by a court if it was ever challenged.

Fixing these mistakes at a later date costs significant time and money, especially if it goes to court. Make an investment in the peace of mind associated with doing it right the first time.

Getting Your Spouse to Consider Mediation

How To Ask My Spouse To Consider Mediation

Approaching your spouse about considering mediation is an important step, and it's crucial to do so with sensitivity and openness.

“I want to tell my story in front of a judge”

Tip 3: Some people are unusually excited about having a chance to tell their story in court.  What they fail to realize is that the court process can take years.

Before they reach court, there are months of case conferences, settlement conferences, trial management conferences, and tons of lawyer meetings, each of which cost you money.

Even then, Ontario does not take into consideration “fault” when addressing divorce. Once they finally get in front of a judge, there is no guarantee that either spouse will get the outcome they desire. On the other hand, mediation puts the process entirely in your hands. You decide on the timeline and are in control of the negotiations.

“We fight too much to ever agree in mediation”

Tip 4: While you may think that conflict and arguments during marriage may disqualify you from mediation, the truth is that if you could agree on everything you wouldn’t need a mediator in the first place.

When you retain a mediator, you are retaining their expertise in helping couples in conflict to negotate. Mediators will help you overcome the barriers to negotiation that inevtiably pop up during conflict.

“I’ve heard horror stories about mediation”

Tip 5: Be assured there are always horror stories about someone’s divorce.  Also know that there are way more horror stories about litigated divorces.

Your spouse may have preconceived notions about the mediation process, especially if it was your idea. Talk to family and mutual friends and ask them for support. They may react differently to information coming from them rather than you.

“I don’t want to be forced into anything”

Tip 6: Share information about mediation with your spouse rather than trying to sell on it. Try to talk about the benefits of mediation and provide them with some educational material, but let them do their own research. In all likelihood, they’ll soon come to the same conclusions as you.

Family Mediation in selwyn Ontario

How to Avoid A Messy Divorce

  1. Seriously consider mediation before lawyer litigation
  2. If at all possible, stay out of the Family Courts
  3. Gather and organize your financial documents
  4. Do your homework, understand how divorce works in Ontario
Family Mediation in selwyn Ontario

How to Avoid A Messy Divorce

  1. Seriously consider mediation before lawyer litigation
  2. If at all possible, stay out of the Family Courts
  3. Gather and organize your financial documents
  4. Do your homework, understand how divorce works in Ontario