What Not to Say During Divorce Mediation

Henriksen LawDivorce Mediation Attorney

Divorce mediation attorney Robert M Henriksen

Divorce is an emotionally and financially painful process. 

Fortunately, mediation can help you avoid expensive, lengthy, and emotionally draining courtroom battles. It’s no wonder 70 to 80% of mediations end up in agreement. 

Utah courts require at least one mediation before moving forward with your divorce application. But this process isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires patience, open communication, and understanding. As seasoned mediation lawyers in Utah, we recommend not going into it alone or unprepared.

In this post, we’ll cover ten things you shouldn’t say during the mediation, which would help you navigate this process successfully. 

Let’s go. 

1. Irrelevant Information

One of the biggest mistakes you can make during divorce mediation is bringing up irrelevant information. Your mediator should know only the information relevant to your divorce, such as asset division, child custody, visitation arrangements, and support payments. 

Keep your conversations limited to these matters, and avoid talking about: 

  • Past grievances or irrelevant personal issues 
  • Your spouse’s annoying habits or mistakes 
  • Sensitive personal information about your spouse or children 
  • Any illegal or unethical actions in the past 

Talking about unrelated matters can derail the process and waste your valuable time. It might also make the mediator view you in a bad light. Stay focused on things related to your divorce so the mediator can help you reach a solution.

2. Accusations

Accusations can quickly turn a constructive conversation into a heated argument. Blaming your spouse for breaking your marriage brews hostility, which prevents the divorce mediation from going forward. 

Instead of pointing fingers, you should express your feelings without assigning blame. For example, instead of saying, “You never supported me,” you could say, “I felt unsupported during our marriage.” This subtle shift in your language can help you manage the process with greater ease. 

A seasoned mediation lawyer in Utah can help you focus on finding solutions rather than placing blame. They can help you approach divorce mediation with a cooperative mindset and willingness to put your differences aside. 

3. Spiteful Language

Spiteful language can inflict wounds that are difficult to heal. Name-calling, insults, and hurtful remarks can damage the chances of reaching an agreement and escalate conflicts. 

To avoid this, try to stay calm and composed, even if the conversation becomes challenging. If you feel upset, take a deep breath or ask for a short break to collect your thoughts. 

Keep in mind that the goal of divorce mediation is to reach a fair and amicable agreement, not to win an argument or inflict emotional pain.

4. Ultimatums or Threats

Ultimatums and threats have no place in divorce mediation. They create an environment of coercion and fear, throwing a wrench in your negotiations and may lead to legal consequences. 

Mediation thrives on open dialogue and willingness to find common ground. Instead of issuing ultimatums, express your needs and concerns clearly and listen to what your spouse has to share. Work towards finding a solution that respects both parties’ interests. 

This approach is more likely to lead to a practical and satisfactory agreement.

5. Past Conflicts

While it might be tempting to revisit old arguments, doing so often leads to unproductive debates and emotional stress. Divorce mediation is for resolving current issues and planning for the future, not rehashing the past.

Instead of who said or did what in the past, keep the conversation forward-focused. A competent mediation lawyer in Utah can help you focus on addressing the current situation. They can guide you towards constructive dialogue that might lead to a workable plan.

6. False Promises

Divorce mediation helps both parties reach a practical and mutually agreeable settlement. And since mediation lacks a formal discovery process, you and your spouse must be honest about what you have and can commit to. 

Making false promises or hiding your assets not only prevents your mediation from going forward but may also lead to legal conflict down the line. You should never:

Hide your assets or income during mediation

Make promises you can’t keep, such as parenting time, child support, or alimony payments 

If you doubt your spouse isn’t being honest or making false promises, consult your Utah mediation attorney for advice.

7. Unrealistic Demands

Like false promises, unrealistic demands can stall your mediation process. The very purpose of mediation is to reach a mutually agreeable settlement for both parties. However, demanding more than a fair or feasible share of assets, alimony, or child custody can lead to undue friction. 

Approach the divorce mediation process with an open mind. If you are asking for the house, consider what you might be willing to concede in return. A skilled divorce mediation lawyer in Utah can help you chalk down a list of demands and compromises that are balanced, practical, and legal.

8. Involve Children

Using your children as bargaining chips is not only counterproductive but also harmful. Divorce is tough on children as it is, and putting them in the middle of it will only make things worse. 

Keep your children out of your parental conflict as much as possible. Avoid discussing how the kids will be happier with you or how they should know what your spouse has done. The mediation isn’t about questioning the parenting skills of your spouse. 

Instead, use the divorce mediation process to create a co-parenting plan that prioritizes the well-being and stability of your kids. Discuss their needs and how best to meet them, but avoid using them to manipulate or hurt your spouse. Talk to your mediation attorney and draw up a plan to handle this sensitive issue during the mediation.


Divorce mediation can help you reach a more amicable settlement. It’s cost-effective, fast, and a less formal way to resolve your disputes. Knowing what not to say during mediation can help you reach a mutually agreeable solution sooner and help each other move on. 

If you need help with your divorce mediation, Henriksen & Henriksen is here to help. Please use our confidential form or call (801) 521-4145 to see how we can help.