When divorce is imminent, you may consider hiring a divorce mediator, an attorney, or you may choose to represent yourself.
It’s January and right after the first of the year, I started receiving calls from people ready to take steps to move forward with divorce. I have witnessed that people who are no longer happily married often stay together to get through certain events, including the holidays. Once the event passes, the couples who have patiently, or not so patiently been waiting to move forward, take action. One form of action is to reach out to a professional mediator, like me, who can, as a neutral third party, help a separating couple make sense of all the decisions that need to be made to sever their ties, and, when children are involved, help them make decisions that are in the best interest of their children.
So what are the various options for moving forward with divorce? There are several.
People may hire a divorce mediator, a neutral third party who can act as a guide, empowering the parties to make decisions that work for them. Mediators aim to help the parties in mediation communicate; to help them hear what is important to each other, help them to explore options of how they may resolve the issues in conflict, and ultimately, help the parties reach an agreement that works for both of them and their children, when applicable. The ownership for this agreement resides with the divorcing parties. Since the parties ultimately know their situation better than any outsider could, empowering them to decide what will be best for them typically results in a higher percentage of people sticking with the agreement, reducing the need to return to the negotiation table for modification at a future time. That’s not to say changes in circumstances don’t occur over time. The good news is that a higher percentage of mediated divorces return to mediation when a modification is needed, rather than heading to court. Mediators can also assist in the negotiation process if the parties have hired attorneys to represent themselves. Starting with mediation is an opportunity to start a conversation with your spouse and see what you can agree on. If resolution is not achieved through mediation, you may always seek representation.
Individuals may hire attorneys to represent them, each party having their own representation. It is possible to work out an agreement when working with attorneys. When reaching an agreement is not successful, the parties have the option to have a judge decide for them. Fortunately, it’s a low percentage of cases that are tried, however, in cases that are tried, parties hand over the decision to the judge giving up their power to decide what’s best for them. Of the judges I’ve met, they prefer the parties work out their own agreement, but sometimes parties are just too far apart and not willing to negotiate.
And, people may decide to represent themselves.
If you made it through the holidays and are now ready to move forward with divorce, or know someone who is, consider all of your options. I offer complimentary consultations to parties considering, or just wanting to know more about the mediation process. If you are concerned about maintaining a future relationship with your soon to be ex-spouse, mediation is an opportunity for you to start building your future relationship. I find that divorcing spouses who are looking to be able to successfully co-parent their children, truly benefit from and appreciate the mediation process. So, if you or someone you know is ready to take this step, please contact me at here or 617.365.9550.