That is an important question – and one whose answer has many nuances. A simple answer to that question might be: When your relationship has fallen apart and cannot be repaired. But, as we know, life is often not that simple. There are a number of subtle factors that play into the decision that ultimately brings a couple to divorce mediation.
Although divorce mediation has been available as an option for couples for quite some time, there remains a lot of confusion around this subject. Part of the problem is that the mediation community has not done a very good job over the years of letting the public know about this viable alternative to divorce litigation. More importantly, though, the matrimonial bar – lawyers who make their living representing clients in contested divorce matters – are overwhelmingly opposed to the concept of divorce mediation. And it’s understandable why they would be: they fear that mediators will take clients, and income, away from them. And being most comfortable and familiar with their litigious approach to settling issues (“I win, you lose”), they often cannot comprehend how mediation could serve their clients.
Divorcing couples often ask – when is the right time for us to proceed with mediation? There is no one set answer to this question. First of all, it is rarely the situation that both husband and wife are at the exact same stage of accepting that their marriage has ended or is about to end. Typically, one of the parties has thought more about ending the marriage and is thus the “initiator.” Although the signs might have been there for some time, the other party may not be prepared and may even be surprised by this turn of events.
Parents who are divorcing, and who have children, must address two separate and important issues up front: who will have legal custody of the children and who will have physical custody of the children. Depending upon the circumstances, legal custody and physical custody may be awarded to one parent solely, or to both parents jointly.
Divorce is an emotional time for everyone who goes through it.
When most people think of divorce, they think of long, painful litigation on top of the already painful emotions they are experiencing as a result of the separation from their life partner. Mediation provides an alternative approach that is good for parents, and especially beneficial for their children.
Enjoy this humorous video created by Joseph Pelling, a British animator and illustrator. The video can be viewed at Vimeo.com.
This is the time of year when many of us have adopted New Year’s resolutions. Just as quickly as we create them, we often end up breaking them. But what if, instead of following our old patterns, we made another type of resolution. What if we chose just one of our resolutions that would otherwise go by the wayside, and applied a different kind of reasoning to it, what I call outside-the-box thinking. Much like the approach taken in Joseph Pelling’s amusing video.
It’s fascinating how, as we grow older and wiser, certain ‘truisms’ repeatedly appear in our lives. As I’ve broadened in my professional life from being a lawyer to working as a life coach and mediator, I’ve found this particularly to be the case. I now see clearly how there are certain underlying principles that govern both my professional and personal life. I like to refer to this as Mediator Mind.