Coping With Emotions During Family Law Mediation in Minnesota

Families are great.

And families are hard.

When your family is at odds — because of a divorce, or trying to find the best way to share your roles in raising kids — it can be damned near impossible to separate emotions from the decision-making process. Indeed, a good argument can be made that it’s entirely impossible to set your emotions aside. You’re human, after all.

Those feelings can make court — with its rules, procedures, and processes — harder to take. It’s all so analytical, sometimes to the extent that it feels cold or heartless. And it doesn’t feel under your control (mostly because it really isn’t).

Mediation offers families in conflict a way to work through their disagreements without the limiting structure of court, and without feeling like they have to shut out their emotions. That doesn’t mean you want to let your anger or fear or frustration drive you in mediation, but it does mean a good family law mediator will leave room for those feelings as you sort through your options.

Building Trust

Family law mediators aren’t there to judge you. Their role isn’t to tell the parties who’s right and who’s wrong. A mediator is neutral, giving space for all parties to share their stories, their fears and worries, and what they hope for. In most cases, the parties appreciate the mediator’s intentional acknowledgment of the difficult decisions ahead.

This recognition that your feelings are sincere and real allows the mediator to frame the upcoming conversations through a lens of trust, encouraging the parties to move forward with openness and honesty as they work toward a common goal.

That won’t always be easy or smooth, of course. Tempers may flare, tears may spill, stony silence might fall over the room. A mediator can let that happen, and then help the parties find a way to move past it. Maybe everyone needs to sit quietly for a while. Maybe a break will give you a chance to refocus. Or maybe in an outburst, the mediator will hear an idea, glimpse something important that the parties hadn’t been able to articulate until they were free to open up.

And then the mediator has the opportunity to acknowledge the emotions in the room, to remind you that those feelings are strong because what you’re working through is so important. Mediation doesn’t always lead parties to an agreement, but when it works — which is most of the time — it’s often because parties had the chance to be open and honest, and they got to hear the other side share their feelings just as honestly. The mediation helps them see what they want … if not the same things, then similar things. When the parties can focus on their shared goal of enjoying a stable and bright future for themselves and their children, communication often becomes more collaborative and productive.


If you’re interested in learning more about how mediation can help you resolve a family law matter in the Minneapolis area, call Rubric Legal LLC today at (612) 465-0074.

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