Transformative Mediation

You've decided to divorce, but you know you'll see your partner again. Perhaps you share children, or you'll work together in a business you started when you were married. But you can't finalize your divorce because you don't agree on a few core concepts. Transformative mediation could be right for you. 

During the transformative mediation process, you could repair your relationship and develop a deeper understanding of your partner. You may resolve issues, too.

What is transformative mediation?

Any mediation is a conversation between two parties who don't always agree. A transformative mediation involves an innovative approach to that talk.

Your transformative mediator guides both parties using conversational techniques to move the talk along, such as these:

  • Reflecting: The mediator listens and then repeats either the content or the tone of the person's words. 
  • Summarizing: The mediator recaps each party’s views by emphasizing core points.
  • Questioning: The mediator asks questions to help couples communicate clearly or understand one another. 
  • Checking: The mediator asks questions to help partners come together. 

Your mediator doesn't offer quick solutions to challenges. Instead, this professional works like a coach, helping people to really listen to one another and communicate clearly.

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How does transformative mediation work?

Couples enter transformative mediation due to conflicts blocking a divorce. They enter the process with a list of topics to resolve, and each one is the center of attention at some point. 

During the discussion, the mediator aims to help people acquire the skills needed to make constructive changes and communicate clearly. That means a mediator might do the following:

  • Introduce the topic 
  • Ask one party to propose a solution
  • Ask questions such as, "Do you understand what she is proposing?" or "I'm hearing you ask for custody. Is that correct?"
  • Let the other party talk about the pros and cons of the proposed solution 
  • Facilitate discussion and encourage people to remain calm and collaborative 

The mediator isn't trying to push both parties to agree. Instead, they are coaching both parties to collaborate skillfully. The lessons you learn here could help you handle other difficult conversations in the future. 

Read: Askers vs. Guessers: The Power of Understanding Each Negotiation Style

What is the main goal of transformative mediation?

A typical mediation aims to help a couple settle difficult issues to end their marriage amicably. Transformative meditation may also help couples resolve issues, but skill-building is the main goal. 

Mediators want their clients to improve their relationships so they can work together in the future. For example, couples who share custody of their children and who will need to make decisions regarding their children together might benefit from this coaching.

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What are the pros and cons of transformative mediation?

Transformative mediation is just one type of structured conversation you could use to end your marriage in a collaborative way. Understanding the pros and cons can help you determine if this approach is right for you. 

Skill-building is the main benefit of transformative mediation. The lessons you learn here could help you have more supportive conversations with your spouse so you're less likely to fight in front of your children. 

Transformative mediation isn't goal-oriented, so it's very possible that you can leave your meeting with no solutions suggested. This is a big drawback of transformative mediation, especially for people who don't want to go to court. If you can't agree here, you will go to court. 

Is transformative mediation the right option for my situation?

If you're likely to remain connected to your partner in the future, and you can't get along right now, transformative mediation may help. You may not emerge with answers to all of your problems, but you could have a stronger future together.



Transformative Mediation. (April 2010). Society for Human Resource Management. 
What Type of Mediation Is Right for You? (March 2022). New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators. 
Mediation Research: Studying Transformative Effects. (2001). Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal.
Divorce Specialists
After spending years in toxic and broken family law courts, and seeing that no one wins when “lawyer up,” we knew there was an opportunity to do and be better. We created Hello Divorce to the divorce process easier, affordable, and completely online. Our guiding principles are to make sure both spouses feel heard, supported, and set up for success as they move into their next chapter in life.