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Divorce Mediation as a Healing Art

Posted by Chris Leone-Zwillinger | May 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

Divorce Mediation May Be the Way to Conclude Your Marriage

About 20 years ago, a new approach to resolving parties' differences in a divorce proceeding was introduced to the public. It took a radical approach to the litigation process by recognizing that, in most cases, the parties to the dispute were going to continue to have contact and would need to work together at least until the children were grown. And then there would still be college graduations, weddings, grandchildren, holidays, funerals, etc., where they would still have to be in each other's company.

This new approach recognized that it would benefit everyone, especially those they cared most about (the children), if they could resolve their conflict and move on without the need to destroy each other and deplete the marital assets with unnecessary protracted litigation. This “new approach” encourages the parties to control their own divorce while working with a mediator. The mediator levels the playing field by ensuring a balance of power between the parties and facilitating their ability to create a tailored agreement which meets their needs rather than a “cookie cutter “divorce which is created for the average person and fails to meet the needs of a particular family. This new and improved, kinder, gentler way to get divorced is through a Divorce Mediation. While it certainly isn't meant for all parties, a mediated divorce could cost about 1/10th the cost of a litigated divorce, and in the mediation process (provided that both parties participate with an eye toward fairness and putting their children's needs above their own), both the parties and their children will emerge stronger and healthier. Mediation would be the first step in a healing process for everyone as they emerge from the painful divorce experience. In America, the divorce rate for a first marriage is around 41%. The divorce rate for a second marriage is 60%. The divorce rate for a third marriage is 73%1. Divorce mediation can prove to be a more civil, less costly way to manage your own divorce. Mediation often reaches resolution quickly, while a litigated divorce takes at least a year to reach the trial stage or often longer. Agreements reached in mediation also have a much higher compliance rate because they are fashioned by the parties themselves rather than imposed by a court. However, ever after all of these years, most people still have never heard of Divorce Mediation. Mediation also seems counter-intuitive to most litigators as they believe it is their duty to protect their individual client from “losing” any rights real or imagined and “win” the battle against the opponent. The Mediator's role is not to protect, but to facilitate the negation of a resolution custom tailored by the parties. Sometimes in litigation, the litigants adopt a scorched earth mentality that they  must always pursue the best possible outcome by means of destroying the other side.  To do any less would result in a “loss”. Mediation, by contrast, encourages compromise and putting the children first; it also encourages both parties to disclose everything and treat the other fairly for the benefit of the “family” that still exists although broken. When this approach is taken, and mediation is successful, the results that occur are healing and liberating and, with time, allow the parties to heal their lives with out the deep scarring of most divorces. But the best reason to mediate is so that the children continue to feel safe with both parents in stead of feeling like they are living in a war zone. It is time to get the word out that there are peaceful approaches to divorce which reduce psychological pain and conserve time and money, too. Mediation is a healing alternative approach to protracted divorce litigation. It might work for you. To discuss whether it's a good fit for your particular circumstance, contact the divorce mediators at DeMichele & DeMichele with a quick email or by phone: (856) 546-1350. _________________________ 1) “Divorce Stats in the U.S. by Age and Region of the Country.” Family LawCourts. 2010-2012. Accessed: October 13, 2012

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