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Keeping the Humanity in a Divorce

We've all heard the tragic story from a family member, co-worker or friend -- they got a divorce and in the process, spent an unseemly amount of money for a lot of stress, aggravation and a settlement with which they were not really happy. The damage created by the experience is great; not only were they dealing with the loss of a mate and the loss of a significant amount of money upon which they were counting to rebuild their life, they were also dealing with the loss of their own humanity. To really win at a litigated divorce, it is necessary to emphasize the worst about one's ex-partner by pointing out all their deficiencies as a parent, financial planner, money manager and, worst of all, their failings as a human-being in general. Litigating spouses find that they are at their worst when severing the ties that bind them, and are shocked to realize after all is over, they have lost some of their dignity in the process.

There is an alternative to the usual process of hiring an attorney and engaging in dirty battle. More and more, couples are turning to mediation. This process utilizes the skills of a neutral third party to assist the divorcing couple in communicating and negotiating a final, personalized settlement that meets the needs and interests of both parties.

The benefits of mediation are many
  • Communication: As in most conflicts, what people really want is that their side be heard. In mediation, couples are encouraged to communicate directly with one another thereby by-passing the indirect and expensive client-to-attorney-to-attorney-to-client communication chain. By communicating directly, couples minimize misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
  • Expense: Mediation is much less expensive than litigation. An average divorce can easily cost as much as $30,000.00. A mediation can cost as little as $3,000.00, including completion of all the legal paperwork.
  • Children: Research has shown that it is not the divorce which causes the long-term scars on children, but the acrimony surrounding the divorce. Often, well-meaning parents unwittingly use their children as tools of revenge and place their children in the middle of their war. Mediators point out that the parents are going to need to be in the contact with one another for the rest of their children's lives and that they need to learn to communicate and cooperate with one another.
  • Settlement: Mediation relies on brainstorming and creating alternatives to resolve a particular dispute. There is no need to adhere to a fixed solution which is the only option available in a court-rendered divorce. Mediation focuses on flexible solutions tailored to meet the specific concerns of both parties.
  • Compliance: When parties spend the time and energy to craft their own settlement, it is more likely that they will follow the terms of that agreement. The settlement was not imposed on them. This makes it easier for the parties to go on with their lives.

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A party may also obtain a quick and easy divorce if the spouse fails to file a response in the case and therefore defaults. The filing spouse serves their spouse with the Petition for Dissolution of marriage and if he or she does not respond with a formal Response to the court, then the case will proceed by default.
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