Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Importance of Divorce Mediation for Couples

Even if the people involved have seen it on the horizon, divorce is always difficult. Regardless, divorce can create peace for individuals and even entire families when conflict within a marriage cannot be resolved. Once the decision is final, the ideal situation is to end things as smoothly and as quickly as possible.

Frightening tales of ugly divorces are common knowledge. My friend was going through a divorce after being married for 40 years because she waited until her last child had almost finished college. She and her husband had a thorough discussion in advance; it was going to be a peaceful divorce with the assets being divided in half, and it was to be finished with as little argument as possible. The trouble was that they had a lot of possessions, and the husband had made up his mind that he did not want to divide half of it.

The husband, who is a doctor, felt he had made the money and therefore should be entitled to keep the major portion of it. The wife was employed in a medical office during the beginning years, later on she acquired a real estate license and supervised their investment apartment property, had two children and nurtured them, as well as looking out for her husband and a spacious home. She thought she had worked for half of the assets.

The plan at first was to fill out divorce papers in September, when the younger son went away to college. It was unfortunate that the husband made the decision to employ the most spiteful lawyer in the area in July. The outcome was a disaster. The divorce proceedings, fueled by years of pent up anger and resentment, became a nightmare as the two who had once pledged to love each other til death do us part waged a impassioned war, fighting for control over everything in their path from wine glasses and DVDs. The whole family was emotionally upset. Although the children involved were in their twenties at the time of the divorce, it took an enormous toll on their lives.

The assets were split according to the prior agreed upon arrangement, even after the husband's attorney extended the litigation making all involved suffer. It was California, after all, and an even division of everything was required.

The lesson to be learned here is that a divorce doesn't have to be nasty and an extremely painful experience for everybody in the family. The law allows separating couples to use mediation, a neutral third party, to help with negotiating settlements, visitation, child support, and other issues that come up when a marriage is ending. Research shows that couples who use arbitration are usually more content with the final results than couples who use litigation. A divorce can be both cheaper and faster with mediation.

When a couple decides that a divorce is the only solution to their situation, they should seek competent legal advice. They should hire lawyers that want the best for their clients. They should also consider the mediation process because it can work in many situations. If it will work for them, then they can significantly lessen the impact, time, and cost of the divorce.

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