In my 20+ year career as a mediator, it’s rare that I see a conflict where both sides’ perspectives aren’t valid in whole or in part. We live in such a polarized society that we are taught that one side must prevail. But, in truth, both sides can be true.
Understanding both sides of an Oregon Mediated Divorce
Yesterday, I mediated a divorce where both the wife and the husband only wanted the best for each other. For our purposes, let’s call them Ross and Rachel.
Ross and Rachel approached their divorce with compassion for each other. It was clear that they wanted to walk away from their marriage with a fair deal where neither party was screwed. They were intelligent (intellectually and emotionally).
As a couple, they were the ideal candidates for an amicable divorce.
And yet, when spousal support was discussed, they insisted on fighting for which party’s perspective was “right.”
Ross indicated that he valued Rachel’s participation as a stay-at-home mom. He also indicated that he didn’t want to be tied to spousal support for the rest of his life.
Rachel shared that she didn’t want Ross to feel burdened by spousal support, but also felt her past contributions as a stay-at-home mom needed to be monetarily valued.
Both parties lead with valuing the other party’s needs and concerns. And, both parties held opposite views on how to approach spousal support as well as the final outcome.
I kept thinking, both perspectives are valid and true. After I facilitated the validity to each party’s perspective, shared how the law looks at spousal support, and reality-checked that neither was being unreasonable, that’s when the conflict dissipated.
Once they stopped demanding that only one could be “right,” then the magic happened where we could find a solution that each party felt was fair.
How this works in divorce mediation
Once we acknowledge that both sides can be true, then we can find the sweet spot of a solution.
It takes all parties to acknowledge it, though. If only one party finds some validity to the other party’s perspective, then the illusive solution rarely appears. The magic happens when all parties acknowledge that both can be true.
If we insist that only one truth can exist, then the conflict continues..
Of course, there are many times when one party is “right” and the other party is wrong. Those are easy because the solution is in alignment with the “right” party. But, when conflict isn’t subsiding and both sides keep engaging in the fight, then there is a reason for it.
From my experience, the reason tends to be that both can be true.
Next time you find yourself going round and round and round with another, ask yourself, can both be true? And if so, then what solution exists that we both can feel is fair.
Schedule your Oregon divorce mediation today
Our team at Mediation Northwest is happy to answer your questions about divorce and divorce mediation. We want to help you and your spouse get through your divorce with the least amount of drama possible and create an agreement that works for everyone. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.