You’ve decide that you want to get divorced, but you don’t want to go through the adversarial court process of litigation.  How do you persuade your spouse to go through mediation?

There are a plethora of reasons why divorce is beneficial to both parties — especially if any children are involved.  Many of them are listed on my website.  These reasons should be compelling to your soon-to-be-ex.  Now Katherine E. Stoner talks about this topic in her book, “Divorce without Court: A Guide to the Mediation & Collaborative Divorce”.

Stoner says it is critical for the spouse proposing mediation to do his or her homework about the processes — speak to people who are knowledgeable about the options before making a suggestion. Research costs and availability of experts to help you, then offer to share all this information with your spouse.  Give only neutral reasons for suggesting mediation and stress that they are inexpensive ways to reach a fair and amicable settlement, Stoner advises.  “Don’t try a hard sell,” she warns in her book.

Rather, show your willingness to be flexible from the beginning by asking your spouse’s opinion.  “Then back off and wait for your spouse’s answer,” Stoner writes, since this approach generally has a more positive outcome than pushing.

There’s no sense threatening to take your spouse to court and leave him or her penniless if your offer to mediate or collaborate is turned down, she points out. Either one is a voluntary procedure, so making ultimatums is fruitless.

Even if your spouse has turned down these alternatives, keep trying.  “No matter how far along you are in the process of getting a divorce, mediating an agreement on the remaining issues — or settling them collaboratively — can save time and money,” Stoner writes.

(With thanks to Inside Bay