Positions and Interests in Divorce Mediation

January 24, 2021 by  
Filed under Mediation


Recently I read this quip, “to be sure to hit the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.” As divorce mediators, we often see parties to negotiation who take this approach. Another way to put it is “shoot first, ask questions later.”

What happens is that a party will enter a negotiation having certain interests that they want fulfilled. So, they stake out a position calculated to fulfill the interest. And, once they stake their claim to the position, that becomes their target. Often, the position is not well crafted to secure the party’s interest. Perhaps the position is overreaching and demands things that are beyond what is necessary to fulfill the interest, or maybe not even really related to the interest. But, they have “shot first,” without fully considering what is needed to fulfill their interest. And, they’ve claimed their position as the target.

It is part of the job of the mediator to apply a filter to the parties’ positions and discern what their real interests are. What are they trying to obtain? What are they trying to protect? And, what are they afraid of losing?

When the mediator can help the parties discern what is really important, rather than what happened to be encompassed in their original positions, they are well on their way to a negotiated settlement that is satisfactory to all.



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“Sam is wonderful! He helped us through a difficult and emotionally challenging divorce and handled both myself and my ex-husband with the perfect amount of caring and tact.  The process could not have gone any better. He was fair, kind, straightforward and made the entire process go as smoothly and quickly as possible. He’s the best – I highly recommend him!” – Leah P.

“Even though three years have passed, Sam helped me find information that made my life easier in locating documents that I had misplaced. He was more than helpful at the time of our proceedings with bringing the outcome of our divorce mediation to peaceful ending, and now with this, even though it was to no advantage to himself. He is a great divorce mediator and person, I would recommend him to anyone who needs a saint to help through a stressful time.” – Raymond G.

“Sam Anderson delivered everything he promised at an exceptionally fair price. Very professional, I would recommend Sam to friends and family in need of divorce mediation!” Keith N. 

“In this day and age, it is extremely difficult to find an honest, smart and compassionate attorney. Someone who cares and gives great advice for “you” not to milk you for the money but direct “you” for what is best for “you”. Sam, I like to thank you for being a great attorney and awesome person to work with.” – Ramin H.

“Sam made what one would call  ‘ugly process’ go smooth.  He was great in giving fair advice and recommendations to help my wife and I get through this and avoid the legal headache of the court process. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a divorce mediator!” – Darin M.

“Sam provided a positive experience and an easy transition for a not so easy experience to go thru! I would recommend Sam to anyone wanting a less stressful way to proceed thru a divorce.” – Ron W. 

“Sam is an excellent mediator and pushed the process smoothly and efficiently. He offered knowledgeable advice and provided impartial guidance through our divorce agreement.  He even offered assistance after our divorce was settled, which has been very much appreciated.  I recommend Sam to anyone who requires a divorce mediator. ” – Janine T. 

“Sam did an excellent job of divorce mediation between my ex and myself.  He was very fair to us both and very very patient and understanding. Thank you Sam for making a painful situation as painless as possible!!” – Chris W.

“Sam is such a great and wonderful divorce mediator throughout my entire 9-month divorce process full with challenges at both emotional and financial sides. He has always been incredibly patient with me and my ex-wife and actually the key element to hold onto both sides to make things keep moving forward. I do want to sincerely recommend him with my all due appreciation and respect for both his work and his kindness for all his future clients.”  – Yuan Y. 

“Sam skillfully guided us through a lengthy, often difficult mediation process and helped save us a good deal of grief – and money. He has the patience of a saint and a near ‘Solomonic’ gift to help cut through complex situations and issues.  Sam worked hard to make our outcome as close to ‘Win-Win’ as possible.  He was always professional, helping to keep his clients on the high road at all times.” – Carl S.

“Sam Anderson’s compassion, knowledge, and experience was a tremendous asset that enabled us to move through the legal process efficiently.   I would highly recommend his services to anyone in need of a trustworthy divorce mediator. ” – Eve R. 

“Sam’s divorce mediation made a difficult process much easier.  We had a real challenge where we needed to get our house refinanced.  There was a chicken and an egg problem that could have forced the house to go to sale.  Sam came up with a way to solve the problem and save the house.” – Steve K.

“I spoke to Sam Anderson over the phone before our initial meeting and, right away, I felt more at ease.  He assured me about some concerns that I had going into the process.  Even though it had been 4 years since the divorce, emotions were high in both of the meetings.  Sam was extremely professional, caring, and helpful walking us through the painful steps of modification.  If I ever needed a divorce mediator again, I would definitely hire Sam Anderson.” – Shannon B.

“In this day and age, it is extremely difficult to find an honest, smart and compassionate attorney. Someone who cares and gives great advice for “you” not to milk you for the money but direct “you” for what is best for “you”. Sam, I like to thank you for being a great attorney and awesome person to work with.” – Ramin H.

“Sam was very professional and helpful. He was very patient throughout the whole divorce mediation process and explained things in a way that was easily understood. He was also very fair in his dealings with myself and my ex. I would highly recommend Sam for those going through this trying period in their life.” – Rob J.

“Sam is a great divorce mediator. He helped me and my ex through a very difficult time. We did not agree on much and at times it got a little heated. Sam stayed calm and always helped achieve what we came in there to do. The end result was wonderful. He always answered phone calls, emails quickly and was always so friendly and helpful. He never ever took one persons side. I have already recommended him to two friends of mine and will do so in the future. If your looking for a great divorce mediator Sam is your man.  Oh and he also met me at a location that was close to me to sign papers. He always made it convenient for me.” – Lindsey J.

“Sam is a great divorce mediator.   The first time I spoke with him was many years ago when we came close to filing but decided to give it a second chance.  He was very patient and understanding that we may want to work it out.   A few years later we decided that it was enough to just move on and file for divorce.   Same guided us through the divorce mediation without taking anyone’s side.   He was fair and extremely patient, considering the personalities he was dealing with.  Thanks again Sam for everything!” – Ngim L. 

“Very pleased with my divorce mediation experience with Sam.  He is very professional, he provided timely responses to all my inquiries and his prices were very fair. Highly Recommended !” – Cynthia M. 

“I was referred to Sam by a counselor at my Church.  He handled our awkward situation very professionally and objectively.  Sam is an excellent listener, which makes him an outstanding divorce mediator.  I would highly recommend Sam’s expertise. Thanks, Sam !” – Val A.

“Sam worked with us through a very long process to mediate our divorce. He was very fair through the process, I never felt he took anyone’s side. He was always calm and understanding through the process, even though they situation was tense at times. You can tell he was invested in the process to see us to finish. I would highly recommend Sam to any who need his services. Thanks for getting us through Sam.” – Mike C.

“Sam listened to both my wife and I and gave very sound advice. I appreciate his even nature and perspective. Highly recommended divorce mediator.” – Todd L.

“I do not know many divorce mediators , but I know we did choose the right  mediator to help us. You were a pleasure to work with!” – Lory M. 


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