Separation, Divorce and the Economy
Friday, January 16, 2009
My Signficant Other "suggested" that I start (this blog and) an advertising campaign having the theme "Divorce Shouldn't Cost You an Arm and a Leg" but I objected. I felt it was too basic- too "Hey you! Pssstt! Yeah, you! Come to mediation- it's cheap!"
He pointed out, "It's all about the economy!" And as he said this to me, the clouds darkened and thunder rumbled menacingly through flashes of lightening as organ music churned uneasily. It was creepy. I don't know how he does that.
Ah yes I pondered, "The Economy." Background drama omitted, but seriously folks, it is gloom and doom out there.
How CAN anyone get divorced in this economy? It isn't easy. It wasn't easy to make the decision to separate, but now....The Economy. We owe more on our houses than the equity we have! There's not enough income. There's credit card debts...car payments. What will happen to health insurance for all of us? How will our children stay in their schools? Can we keep our sanity while living in the same house? How do we keep our emotions in check? Where and How do we start?
I'm calling this blog "Notes From a Mediator." I am an attorney-mediator. Since becoming a lawyer in 1987 I have lived a life, had a couple of kids and gotten divorced twice. In 2005, I "converted" to mediation as the preferred process for how to effectively manage separation and divorce and other family matters, including custody, grandparent disputes and all the most delicate situations. The answers to the questions posed above aren't truly answered through use of the court system. In the court system, life happens to you. In mediation, you plan what happens in your lives and the lives of your children. It's that basic. Having lawyer-driven negotiations may eventually lead to agreements, however, the adversarial tone and process only increase the barriers to settlement, including accumulating costly fees and escalating already damaged emotions. This is all so painful. Why not pick up the leftover pieces and go on as best as you can, as fairly as you can?
The Mediation process is devoted to the idea of a fair and practical settlement; To negotiation with diplomacy in good faith; To manage the naturally adversarial part of the traumatic event, never to intentionally inflame it. That's why I'm devoted to the process of mediation to resolve disputes in family matters.
When you search for a process to find the answers to those hard questions and The Economy and the breakdown of your family unit, look for a constructive, cost-efficient process. Look for Mediation. Divorce shouldn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.