Transitions Magazine

Page 19

A BETTER DIVORCE One day recently, my 13-year-old daughter asked me, “Mom, do you get sad when you get a new case? Do you feel bad for the family that’s getting a divorce?” She has not experienced divorce directly but has two sets of cousins who have gone through it and she understands how difficult divorce has been in their lives. Her empathy was palpable and I thought carefully about how to answer. I told her, “I’m not sad because they are going to get a divorce whether they see me or not, but hopefully I can help them to have a more amicable divorce where they make all the decisions for themselves. It’s better for their kids if they can have a “respectful” divorce.” She nodded her head and we talked a bit more about families we know who are divorced and how the parents and children cope. Being a Divorce & Family Mediator has exposed to me to many different families and unique situations. Each one is an opportunity for a fresh start. I’ve heard many a judge asks, “Do you think this document represents both of your wishes?” Every divorce is fair and equitable based on the couple’s unique circumstances. I think about that throughout my meetings with clients. While emotions can run high and anger deep, the time I spend with a couple sorting out the 20-25 issues that they need to negotiate is productive on so many levels. My process is facilitative rather than directive which means I help my clients negotiate but I don’t give advice or tell them what to do. I will give information and make sure that both parties are heard. It’s important for each party to have an attorney to represent their best interests but if you are using a mediator you want to make sure the attorney understands the mediation process so that they support the agreement that you work on together .

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