Domestic Diversions

Cost, control and certainty

Reducing a party’s commitment to a position is an important skill for mediators to have. One basic technique for reducing such commitment is to use questions on the subjects of cost, control and certainty.

Focus on that party’s cost of prolonging the conflict, the other party’s cost to simply reject the position, the power to force the issue and the outcome, the advantages of being the decision-maker, the track record of the particular judge, the likelihood of an alternative result, the range of outcomes on the same issue (negotiated settlements or court decisions). Developing your own questions on these subjects will help you move a party off an unrealistic demand.

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