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Intergrating Marital Transition Mediation as a whole process

Lawyers negotiating on your behalf, deposition, discovery, notices and motions, court-ordered child custody class, mediated custody agreements, mandatory equitable distribution, court hearings, expert witnesses, retainers, supervised visitation, the list goes on and on.

It’s mind-boggling and frustrating, all these different people making all these decisions supposedly on your behalf. Each decision made separately at a different time and location and somehow they are supposed to all come together into what is referred to as your settlement.

How can all these separate agreements be correct for you and be made separately when each one is dependent in some way on all the others? Here’s an example: A custody agreement is made during court-ordered custody mediation at the courthouse, but the parenting agreement negotiated in your attorney’s office doesn’t reflect the terms and conditions of the equitable distribution agreement that was made in family financial mediation that don’t support the child support terms from the opposing attorney. Gets quite confusing wouldn’t you say?

Client-centered mediation takes all of these into account where the parties decide what is best right now and also be able to make quick, low stress, low cost changes in the future in so desired. In mediation you consider all the options available to you and choose the ones that work best for your particular situation. Each option has to compliment the others; equitable distribution must compliment child support, parenting agreements must compliment custody, custody must compliment equitable distribution. Each its own issue, but without a cohesive attachment to the whole, long term satisfaction of the final settlement will be temporary at best. Not everyone will be happy with the choices they make, it’s what you agree to live with that lets you move on with your life.

I have said this many times, you have three choices. You can come to mediation with an attitude of flexibility and compassion, even during a stressful situation to complete your stated goal of marital transition, or you can come with a ridged stance and a win-at-all-costs attitude, or you don’t have to play the mediation game at all. If you choose to be flexible and compassionate, things will go much smoother for all participants, if you choose the win-at-all-costs approach in mediation, you might actually win but at what cost emotionally, financially, and the cost of future relationships. Choose not to play the mediation game just leads you to another set of choices. Those choices could be; stay married and attempt to work it out, or round up the lawyers for a battle royale where everybody wins something and nobody wins anything worthwhile except the lawyers, they win either way. With each deposition and each court hearing increases their kid’s college fund and decreases yours, but that’s their job if you make this choice, and you know that going in, or you can choose not to play that game either. Anyway it just brings on more choices until you make a decision of what it is you want to do.

Divorce (I hate to use that word) Marital Transition everyone knows is a no-win game. I read a statistic recently that stated that the financial health of a couple drops by 75% as a result of a divorce. Now nobody is holding a gun to your head making you do this, by initiating this action against your spouse, the question asked is “why did you do this to you”. If you feel that a marital transition is in your best interest to your future without the other spouse, then set that as your goal and DO IT. You can move on yet at the same time have compassion for the person or persons that you will be leaving behind. Mediate don’t litigate.

Using mediation as a whole process enables you to reach your goal, while preserving the dignity and emotional turmoil caused by this marital transition. Mediating your whole transition where everyone knows the facts and understandings you make together at the same time at the same place can only result in a settlement that works for everyone if you make the attempt.

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