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Mediation, The Sensible Approach

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The Red Flags

The Red Flags by Ada Hasloecher{4:30 minutes to read} I recently conducted a consultation with a potential client. I had a feeling from the first call that this might be a problematic situation. The husband was the initiating spouse. After speaking briefly with him, I offered some dates to schedule a consultation. He said he would get back to me once he checked with his wife. He called back and scheduled the consultation for a few weeks hence. Then they cancelled. Then they rescheduled. 1st Red Flag.

The husband arrived first and a little earlier than the appointed time. The wife was 20 minutes late. When she arrived, she did not bring in the intake form that I attach to my “welcome” letter that confirms their appointment. 2nd Red Flag.

I welcomed them into my office and began by explaining that this was an information gathering session for them. I was going to give them an overview of the mediation process; share my philosophy and approach, and how I conduct the mediation; give them an idea of how long it typically takes and the associated fees; and make sure that I answered all of their questions, As a result of the consultation, they would be in a better position to decide if mediation was an appropriate process for them and whether they felt comfortable with me as their mediator and guide through that process.

They were silent—no questions. 3rd Red Flag.

I asked if they would like me to leave the room so they could discuss whether they wanted to schedule a session OR if they would rather talk about it when they left—whichever way they felt most comfortable. I didn’t want them to feel pressured in any way. They asked me if I could leave the room.

After a few minutes, I heard voices being raised. 4th Red Flag.

At first a little bit, and then they got louder and louder until the yelling began. Then the yelling subsided a bit, but then it escalated again. I gave it about 5 more minutes (sometimes they need to get these strong emotions out), then knocked on the door and entered the room slowly. The wife was still crying, dabbing her eyes with a tissue, but continued berating the husband—she hardly looked up when I came in. When she took a breath, I asked them what was going on.

They were fighting about who was going to pay for the mediation! 5th Red Flag.

But, of course, that was not what they were really fighting about. She said it was HIS fault. HE was the one who wanted the divorce. HE made more money than she did. Blame, blame, blame…therefore HE should pay.

She said she had talked to a lawyer and knew what her rights were—6th Red Flag—and stormed out of the office.

If she makes good on her threat, the cost of a litigation will be SO much more than the cost of mediation could ever be. We know that. Even if only one of them paid for the entire mediation, they would still be saving a boatload of money in the long run. We know that, too.

What her attorney told her and what she heard…we’ll never know. But I do know this: The attorney will keep the fight going, and in so doing, it will cost them BOTH a fortune the longer the fight goes on. 7th Red Flag!

Do I hear an 8th Red Flag? I’m sure there is one waving out there somewhere.

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Ada L. Hasloecher

Divorce Mediator / Center Founder
Divorce & Family Mediation Center, LLC
Phone: 631-585-5210
eMail: Info@DFMCLI.com
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  1. Greg Hoffmann July 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Yep, that’s what lawyers do stretch it out stretch it out stretch it out thank you for sharing that it gives me some insight as to keeping my eyes open for those flags going up in all situations love you Ada

  2. Steven July 12, 2016 at 6:22 pm


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