Tips for Mediating a Business Divorce

Mediating a business divorce is the corporate equivalent to a marital dissolution of marriage. Emotions typically run very high. Please consider the following tips in preparation for mediating your next business dispute. First, consider the emotions of the parties. Attempt to temper the emotions prior to mediation. If you can talk your client off the ledge prior to the mediation, the case will have a much better chance for settlement earlier than later. I like to meet with the parties separately, before the general session, in order to diffuse the situation to the extent possible. Secondly, if emotions are running higher than normal, consider dispensing with the general session/opening statements. Depending upon the temperament of the parties, the opening statements may cause more harm than good. Third, have your business valuations completed prior to the mediation. If the parties are not on the same planet with regard to the business valuation, it will be difficult if not impossible to settle the case. Finally, consider having your business valuation experts attend the mediation. If there are differences of opinion as to the value or methodology for valuing the business, the experts might be in a position to reconcile some of the disputes.