How to Avoid Making These Common Mistakes During Mediation in Minnesota

Whether you are grappling with a family law issue or business law dispute, mediation offers participants the opportunity to negotiate an equitable outcome. Unlike litigation, mediation encourages the parties—under the guidance of a neutral third party—to work together to arrive at a workable solution. The mediator does not determine the outcome as a judge or jury does; instead, the mediator facilitates discussions between the parties, moving the conversation forward as needed. Those who have participated in mediation often report high levels of satisfaction, as they’ve played an active role in shaping the outcome. Let’s look at three common issues that may arise during mediation and how to avoid them.

Treating Mediation Like Litigation

One of the most common mistakes that disputing parties make is to approach mediation as they would litigation. Entering a mediation session with an overly defensive or aggressive attitude makes it nearly impossible to have open and productive conversations with one another. You may be tempted to plead your case to the mediator like you would a judge, but this is not the mediator’s role. Instead, you should engage with the other party in a give-and-take negotiation. The mediator is there to help you listen to one another and reach common ground.

Failing to be Open and Transparent

The success of mediation depends on the parties’ willingness to work together towards a common goal. When one or more parties withholds relevant information or otherwise fails to come to the table in the spirit of collaboration, productive conversations become challenging. Make sure that you disclose all relevant information and grant the other party access to important documents. During your pre-mediation conference, the mediator will typically discuss which documents you’ll need to provide during mediation. Therefore, it’s critical that you don’t hold back relevant information from the mediator or the other party.

Venting Your Frustrations Publicly

It’s natural to feel frustrated when facing a legal dispute. However, don’t let your anger get the better of you—avoid badmouthing the other party in public, like via social media posts. These posts do nothing to move you towards a resolution; in fact, they often backfire and paint you as vindictive and unprofessional. Additionally, should the matter proceed to litigation, the other party could use these ill-conceived posts to undermine you in some way. Instead, find alternative ways to cope with stress so that you can approach mediation from a calm, rational, and productive perspective.


If you’re interested in learning more about the mediation process in Minneapolis or St. Paul, reach out to Rubric Legal LLC today by calling (612) 465-0074.

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