Divorce Mediation and What’s “Right”

People ask me sometimes, “What is the hardest part of divorce mediation?” I would have to say it’s when one or both people get “locked-in” to a position. If people are absolutely firm and unyielding in their different positions, then mediation is over, because without movement no agreement in divorce mediation can be reached.

Sometimes this happens in divorce mediation when one person has had all the power in the marriage, whether that person knows it or not. Sometimes it’s a person who had no power in the marriage and enough is enough. Sometimes it’s when one or both people are being given advice by others; sometimes these others are professional and some times not. Others are likely to give advice that is agreeable to the one they’re talking with, because few friends and others want to agree with the position of the soon-to-be ex-spouse. But by being supportive, they can also do them a disservice, because the person believes even more strongly that she or he is “right.” If being “right” is more important than reaching an agreement, mediation is doomed. The couple goes on to court, spending thousands, sometimes tens or hundreds of thousands on attorneys. If they win, it’s a hollow victory, because they’ve made an enemy out of an ex-spouse, or even worse, the father or mother of their children with whom they need to co-parent.

What can be done to prevent this impasse in your divorce mediation? One can appeal to a higher value. For most people that value is preserving a parenting relationship for the sake of the children. Or it is minimizing stress, mental and emotional damage, and recovery time from the divorce. For others it is simply getting the cheapest divorce possible, because alternatives like getting the perfect decision in their favor is either impossible or impossibly expensive. To “win” in a divorce usually means to lose in the long run. Compromise for important reasons is better, often much better. Divorce mediation works!

Divorce Mediation, Child Custody Mediation Issues and Courts

Divorce Mediation is getting more and more popular these days. And why not? Many divorces are amiable, and the partners are not out to punish the other person when they separate. Too often in court with attorneys, parents try to prove each other unfit so they can get more time with the children.

In fact, most courts ask that you try divorce mediation before you go to court to try a case. If you do hire attorneys, when you get to court very soon in the process the judge will ask you, “Have you tried mediation?” Since that is the case, why not try mediation first, before the mud-slinging back and forth gets going? If you try mediation first, you stand a much better chance of reaching an agreement. And if you can cooperate first, co-parenting is easier, seeing each other at weddings and births years later is easier. Even more, the emotional pain of divorce, while never fun, can be lessened because you can avoid getting hurt over and over. You can move into the rest of your life and recover more easily.

I know this to be true because I’m divorced, had kids at the time, and went the mediation route. I saved myself tons of grief and pain, and even more money. And I was able to model a valuable lesson for my children that adults can come to an understanding on important things, even if they can’t agree on everything. The children will heal faster with parents like that.

People sometimes ask how much divorce mediation is. That depends on the situation. But generally it’s 1/3 to 1/2 of what traditional divorces cost. Sometimes even less. Divorce mediation is faster, less costly, the results are better. Both partners will generally stick to an agreement they made themselves, instead of having a settlement forced upon them by the judge. The judges don’t have to make decisions in cases that may wind up back before them in a couple years. Mediation is a win for everyone!