Do outcomes matter?

Do outcomes matter? It’s not the number, it’s how I feel about the number…

What does that actually mean? Surely the number is the most important thing? How much will I stand to lose? How much will I gain? How much will I need to pay? How much will I need to live on? And so on….

So it is the number, isn’t it?   Well, maybe, but it’s not the whole picture. ‘It’s how I feel about the number….’ This is the very phrase I heard from a mediation client recently. Obviously, the number does matter but the point is that the most important thing about achieving a settlement (that not only is considered fair but feels fair, is that you and your ex can live with it, you can walk away feeling as though you have been treated fairly and have treated your ex fairly, taking everything into account)

So you could re-state this as ‘I want to leave this process feeling ok about the outcome’

When you give up your decision making to a private judge (arbitrator) or the court, then the way you feel about an outcome becomes pretty irrelevant. A decision is made on the facts and merits of a case. An arbitral award (analogous to a judgment in a court order) or indeed an order of the court is made. Which is fine if you are prepared to accept an outside judgment on your particular dispute

The ingredients of a dispute are not just facts and merits though. We know that marriages and probably almost all relationships are made up of a whole bunch of other stuff; there are emotional, personal, financial, factual, practical, even moral aspects to consider and many, many more… Disputes are difficult to resolve unless these other factors are taken account of; grief – at the relationship ending –difficult to predict and impossible to measure; vulnerability; habitual patterns and dynamics of a particular relationship; ability to focus….Addressing these aspects often resolves the more practical financial aspects, paving the way for settlement proposals to be made…

A court or arbitration may deliver a perfectly measured outcome after thorough consideration of the facts and merits, but still the parties may not be content with it

To find out more about how family mediation can offer a flexible and informal way to help reach a solution– by exploring the reasons for the fallout and establishing realistic expectations of each other, please call 01279 211657 for a free, no obligation discussion. Our accredited family mediators offer a specialised service helping you move towards a resolution

Carolyn Hanes
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