In a divorce, I once represented a woman who insisted on fighting for her marital bed, which her husband had made and given to her and now wanted back. Finally, I pulled her aside and said, “Do you realize how much money you’re spending fighting over this?” When people are overwhelmed with emotion, they lose all perspective.
As a mediator, I let my clients vent a little, but if things get heated, I’ll take a break with each person separately so they feel they’re being heard. Through my body language and eye contact, I let them know I see them as a human being. People often want payback: “I should get the house because he had an affair.” But I push couples to remember the goal: You want a resolution. Instead of focusing on the past, think about what you want the future to look like, and how we can get there.