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“Often, we are afraid to make the opening offer because we fear that we will offend the other side, or that they will walk away,” says negotiation expert Victoria H. Medvec, PhD, in her 2021 book Negotiate Without Fear. p133. To reduce the chances of your spouse rejecting your offer of settlement, make it one of several equivalent offers made at the same time.

The safest time, place and manner of making any offer including a “MESO” is in a joint mediation session using the mediation services of Virginia Mediation.

Dr. Medvec includes an entire chapter of her book on preparing and delivering a “MESO.” The concept is also included in the 2022 book entitled The Human Element: Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas by Loran Nordgren and David Schonthal, PhD.

Advantages of making several simultaneous and equivalent offers include giving your spouse clear alternative choices. While Dr. Medvec says “it is unlikely that your counterpart will simply pick one of the offers, you are likely “to gather more information about the other side’s relative priorities and evaluate their preferences.”  She goes on to say: “Not only will you achieve a better outcome for yourself, but research reveals that this strategy is also likely to improve the outcome for the other side compared to the outcome attained with a single-offer strategy.” p135.
Presenting a MESO makes what you present more credible and the recipient is likely to spend more time on two or three offers than they would on just one offer.

If the MISO proposal is presented prior to or during a mediation session, your mediator can help the presenter explain it and help the recipient understand it, before the recipient begins to respond to it. Knowing that the recipient doesn’t have to respond immediately after hearing the MESO, reduces the recipient’s fear and anxiety over it, gives him or her more time to think about it and understand it. By the time the recipient discusses it with his/her lawyer after the presentation, the recipient will be more knowledgeable and  in control of the conversation with his/her lawyer, and less likely to over-react or flatly reject the MESO. The recipient will be better able to articulate which of the several proposals or which part or parts are acceptable.

Stay in control of you case by engaging in mediation. Use your lawyer for legal advice between mediation sessions. Don’t turn over control to your lawyer.

The foregoing provides educational information and does not provide legal advice. It was not prepared for you either generally or in connection with any specific issue or case. The mediator does not give legal advice. You are responsible for obtaining legal advice from your own lawyer.


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