Last night my youngest child came downstairs saying he did not want to sleep in his room. This is my child who has had a lot of difficulty sleeping in his room. One time we even switched his room with the game room because he slept in the game room more than his. Last night he wanted to sleep in my room. I, however, did not want to get kicked in the stomach and back all night so I suggested a compromise. At first he said no. Then I realized he did not even know what the word compromise meant, he is 5 after all. I explained that compromise means that you do not get everything you want and I do not get everything I want but we meet in the middle. I asked him if we could meet in the middle and he said yes.
This is what mediation should be about. It should not be about one side getting everything they want because then it is not a compromise. It should be about neither side getting everything they want and finding a middle ground. In my case last night my child wanted to sleep in my room and I did not want him doing that because I do not get a good sleep when he does. I gave him two options, (1) sleep in the game room or (2) he could fall asleep in my room but when I go to bed I would move him to his room. He ultimately chose the game room. Here he got to not sleep in his room but did not get to sleep in my room with me. I got to sleep in my room but did not get him sleeping in his room. For me, it will be a few more nights like this before he is back to sleeping in his room like normal but at least we both can get a good sleep and continue on with our days.
In the context of family law mediations, this is also how they should work. You should use mediation to weigh all your costs and determine whether there is an agreement you can live with. Some of those costs to weigh are (1) the toll on your family, (2) what is best for the children (if children are involved), (3) what the likely outcome in Court would be, (4) whether you can afford to take it to trial to achieve that result, (5) what the risk involved would be to go to Court. All of these factors will be discussed in mediation to try to figure out how to meet in the middle.