(540) 809-8683 [email protected]

“One of the biggest sources of fear in a negotiation is that the other side will walk away,” says negotiation expert Victoria H. Medvec, PhD, in her 2021 book Negotiate Without Fear. To reduce the chances of your spouse rejecting your offer of settlement, speak directly to the party with whom you are negotiating, in person or on Zoom, rather than using email, voicemail, text messages or snail mail (USPS).

The safest time, place and manner of making a settlement offer is in a joint mediation session using the mediation services of Virginia Mediation.

The convenience of using electronic communication has caused many lawyers to lose awareness of its overuse and drawbacks. Dr. Medvec points out that the sender loses the awareness of the receiver’s reaction that the sender gets in the direct connections of in-person and Zoom meetings or even telephone conference calls.

In using indirect electronic communication, called asynchronous communication, the sender gives up knowledge of the receiver’s reaction and allows the receiver to delay responding. Thus, we have both more miscommunication and more delay.

Direct communication allows the receiver to react to the receiver’s over-reaction, negativity or even out right rejection of your offer. You get the chance to ask for reasons for the recipient’s negativity, and even to ask for a counter-offer.  It provides opportunities for better understanding of each other’s positions, needs and interests and often results in a direct response from the receiver that moves the parties more closely toward settlement.

By engaging in the direct, synchronous, facilitated communication of joint mediation sessions, divorcing parties save time and money.  They avoid the miscommunication risks, time delays and needless additional costs incurred when allowing lawyers to take over the communication and negotiations.

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.


© 2024 The Mediation Center, Inc.