Does mediation sound like a bad idea because you have to be in a room with your ex?
Thinking about the first time you have to meet your ex, either after some time, or when you have to negotiate with them, makes everyone nervous, tense or downright scared. Added to that tension, you may be worried about meeting the mediator or the collaborative team too, and wondering if its all too much. And if you had to do that all at once, it would be too much.
Good practitioners get how you are feeling, and know that preparation and emotional and psychological support are almost always needed as the foundation for any negotiation. And that support definitely includes working on your apprehension, helping you and your advisors to understand what that is about, and making sure you have practice and time and coaching before sitting in a room with your ex.
Good practitioners will never let you walk into a negotiation room with one or more strangers. It is not difficult to make sure that you have met with everyone who you will be working with, long before you sit in a room with them. Sadly, it can happen though, which is about thoughtlessness. You should never be afraid to ask questions about how meetings are going to be managed, and to let your lawyer/financial planner/psychologist/mediator know that you need support and a plan to manage your anxiety.
You will find that it is caring professionals who are attracted to keeping people out of Court, and helping with mediation and collaboration. They are just ordinary people, and want to help and to do their jobs well. They will want to get to know you, to understand what you need, how past conflict has been managed, what upsets or worries you, how you react under pressure. Your ‘hot spots’ and your coping strategies will be uncovered as part of good preparation. Good practitioners will want to know all those things about your ex as well.
Its okay for you to remind your practitioner what you need. You can expect that to be welcomed, because like you, they want you to reach decisions you can live with, forever, and that’s never just about the money or the parenting timetable.