Negotiating During Your Mediation Series – Part 2


By: TFMS Mediator Raheena Dahya

This series is designed to provide you with some tips and activities to assist you in preparing for your family law mediation.

Get To ‘Yes’ With Yourself

William Ury, one of the most preeminent writers on negotiation theory and tactics, describes how to use negotiation tactics with yourself before you engage in negotiation with another person. This allows you to resolve any internal conflicts you may have before you engage in a conflict with another person. You can watch his talk on Getting To Yes With Yourself here.

Know Your Best and Worst Possible Outcomes

Knowing your best and worst possible outcomes will prepare you towards knowing when you can give something up and when you can comfortably stand firm. By knowing these outcomes, you will better understand the risks of standing firm and you will be more comfortable saying “yes” if it is closer to your best possible outcome. Sometimes your outcome through Court may be significantly better or worse than the option you are considering.   

Once you have understood your best and worst outcomes you can create a spectrum of outcomes that might exist between the two. Lorne Wolfson suggests planning alternatives to your ultimate goal:

“Think of alternatives as your safety net. For every Plan A, you should have a Plan B. By taking the time to consider your alternatives prior to the mediation, you won’t feel pressured to concede to the opposing party’s position if you don’t get what you want.”

Allow yourself plenty of time to consider these outcomes in advance. After you have gone through this exercise once, you may find yourself wishing to add or amend your original position afterwards. Make time to revisit this exercise and revise anything you feel you should, at least once before your mediation.

Prepare Yourself For Your Own Reactions

Family law negotiations can be emotionally taxing. Taking the time to understand your emotions and learning to manage them will help you build a tool-box of strategies that you can use if you begin to feel overwhelmed or inflamed during the negotiation.

You can watch Dan Shapiro’s Google Talk on Negotiating the Non-negotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts here.

When a key relationship ends, it can often prompt us to reflect on ourselves and our patterns. You can spend some of this reflective energy by investing in expanding your emotional intelligence. Using your emotional intelligence during a negotiation can support you in working towards a positive outcome for your family. You can watch Dr. Travis Bradberry explain emotional intelligence (EI) and give you some starter tips on improving your EI here.

Family Law Information Centres (FLIC)

You can learn much more about available services, mediation, court process, separation, divorce and the law by visiting us at one of our Family Law Information Centres (FLIC).


361 University Ave, Suite 146, Toronto, ON M5G 1T3

Get Directions

311 Jarvis Street Toronto, Ontario, M5B 2C4(Between Gerrard and Dundas)

Get Directions

47 Sheppard Avenue East Toronto, Ontario M2N 5X5Main Floor (Just east of Yonge, south side of Sheppard)

Get Directions