Divorce Mediation is a Waste of Time

I’ve heard it so many times.  My clients say that mediation won’t work for them.  The most common reason they give is that the other party (ie: {exes} spouse or significant other) won’t agree to anything reasonable.  The second most common reason given is that they will only do something if forced to by a Judge. Both are absolutely right.

****Of course we won’t agree to anything “reasonable”.  “Reasonable” went out the window when they became so difficult to work with.  We want everything we have worked for, and we deserve it.  Why would we agree to throw it all away to someone who isn’t even qualified to be on our team any more? How could we be expected to do that? Who in their right mind would do that willingly?

We worked hard.  It doesn’t matter if it was a relationship that lasted one year or 25 years.  We worked hard and we sacrificed for the sake of the team we were building.  And now that we are finally freeing ourselves of the baggage of that team mate who just didn’t make the cut; you want me to agree to GIVE them some of the things we worked together for?!?! Willingly? Not in this lifetime.  Not unless you can compensate me for everything that’s being taken.****

Now while that isn’t exactly a direct quote from any one client, it is a message that nearly every client feels at one point or another. And who could blame them?

The truth is that both parties (ie: people- when your life becomes a court case you get labeled as “parties”) absolutely deserve 80% or more of what they’ve worked together for and no matter how hard you fight, half of 100% will never be the 80% you deserve.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a ready and willing litigation system available to help you fight, and make the decisions for you. But if you would rather decide for yourself what exactly you are willing to go without (and become responsible for); then mediation gives you the opportunity to think about it, talk about it, research it, think about it some more, and when you’re sure you are ready- decide on it.

Nothing is 50/50.  Nothing is fair.  The whole thing isn’t fair and nobody likes it.  But it’s happening.  There’s RCW’s and extensive official opinions written from people (whom you will never meet), that outline what is equitable in your exact situation.  But only you know what you want and why.

One of the most common epiphanies to occur in my office is the logistics of what we think we want.  We put our foot down and WILL NOT settle for {XYZ}!!! But then when we go home and look at the new place we just moved into, we realize that it has a different layout than where we moved from. Half the furniture we were demanding won’t really fit, and the stuff we threatened to sell on craigslist is perfect for the new place (yes this happens a lot).  Or even that we will not under any circumstances give up Wednesday dinner with the kids, but when we think about it, we get off work early on Fridays so maybe it would actually be better to get the kids at 3 instead of 6 and skip Wednesday (this actually happens even more than the furniture mess).  The point here is that it takes time, and many conversations to figure some of these things out. And it should.  You need to think about your schedule, your new living arrangement, your needs, your wants, and your future.

What you don’t need to think about is what you can get away with, or what you are entitled to.  You are entitled to things that don’t exist anymore and fighting over them won’t make them available. Taking something just to compensate what you can’t get won’t fill the void either.

You need resolve. You need to move on. You need mediation.

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You are Ready to Move On!

We all know that my job is never boring.  One piece I’m finding particularly interesting today is the number of people who are still legally married but have been separated in real life for a while, often a long while.  I’d say a decent percentage of my calls are from clients who just need to get their divorce finalized (and what they really mean is get the divorce started!)

I see how it happens, and I’m glad that there’s such a large number of people who have no interest in seeking the Fight as the Answer.  Whether you were married for one year or 15, it seems it is not uncommon to disentangle actual “real” life, and forego dealing with the paperwork.  The obvious reality of it is that it took paperwork to get married, and it takes paperwork to get UN-married (or as I like to say- “get single”).

When 2 people have been separated for years, it seems the most common time they seek the dissolution of their marriage is when they want to get married again, or add a new family member to their new(est) relationship.  Well that makes sense.  You don’t want to keep the old spouse when you get a new one.

These situations are really among the more pleasant of sessions held.  The clients usually have been living out some kind of existing schedule regarding finances, children, and whatever else was combined during the marriage.  I can often help them iron out any discomforts they had been simply enduring for the sake of not having to talk to one another.  Every client, every family, and every situation has their own set of standards that they live comfortably with, as well as some they don’t want to live with anymore.  No two stories are the same.  I am asked so many times, “What’s normal?”.  I have to reply with literally the same question.  I can offer parallels, similarities, generalities, but no “normal”.  The longer I’m a Mediator, the more firmly I believe that if you can think of it, people are doing it.

As I stated, I’m happy to be here for the people who are Ready to Move On.  And I am so very well aware of how life gets busy, life gets complicated, life gets fun, or life gets scary, and any one of those is a valid reason the details get put on hold.

I was just wanting to share a few thoughts on how we all live so differently, yet find some of the most interesting variables in common.  I also wanted to encourage any one that is hesitant to make an appointment because it has been so long, or maybe you’ve even made appointments with me, or another lawyer or Mediator; only to cancel, reschedule, or simply decide not to go.  While I am in no way a fan of no-shows- I do understand.  I also am not here to judge what ever has gone on in your life that led you to where you are now.  I’m here to help you get to where you want to be.

So don’t be shy.  Get on with your life!  I sure hope today’s note finds you enjoying your day.

And remember- The Rest of Your Life Begins Here.

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