On March 27, 2011, someone wrote in to Dear Abby explaining that he wanted to mediate his divorce, and his wife told him if he wanted a divorce, he would need to get a lawyer. Abby, in her infinite wisdom responded:
I have seen both kinds of divorces — one in which the warring spouses spent so much money in litigation there was little left for each of them when it was over; and the other, in which the couple agreed their marriage was broken beyond repair and arranged their divorce with as little cost as possible. I don’t have to tell you which people are doing well now. So clip this and share it with your wife.
Abby gave great advice. As both an attorney and a mediator, I have had a first row seat to both the most cordial divorces and the most contentious ones. In mediation, the parties work together to amicably resolve the issues. While divorce is never emotionally painless, the mediation process creates an atmosphere that facilitates successful resolutions with as much positive feelings as possible. I have witnessed more than one “high-five” at the end of a successful mediation, as well as smiles and even laughter during mediation. Divorces do not have to be horrible.
By contrast, I have seen how litigated divorces can destroy people and children. I have seen each party spend over $50,000.00 on fees and costs related to the divorce in six months. I have seen people’s lives be consumed by the divorce for over a year (and for many years after the divorce). I have seen children become the biggest victims of their parents’ fighting.
Mediation is the sane and healthy way to resolve family law disputes. Of course, both parties have to agree to it. If you would like to mediate your dispute, and the other party is resistant, in the wise words of Abby, “clip this and share it…”
Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or email@example.com. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.
Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260