As a divorce attorney and psychologically-trained mediator, I hear all
kinds of diverse divorce stories. I have decided to share some of these
stories monthly with you.
Naturally, I will change the names and some of the details to protect my
clients. The purpose of sharing these divorce stories with you is to let
you know you are not alone. There are peaceful, rational solutions available to you.
You really can have a happily-ever-after.
Elaine and Josh have been married for four years. They have a baby, a dog
and are very unhappy. Elaine called me a few weeks ago in tears. She explained
that her husband was very irritable and not capable of caring for their
four-month old son. Elaine said having a baby during this pandemic had
been extremely stressful.
Elaine and Josh were fighting a lot, had different opinions on how to handle
the birth, were anxious about not having any physical family support,
and Josh had lost his job as a Broadway producer and will probably be
unemployed now until May, if not longer.
Elaine is a grade school teacher and is working from home, virtually. Elaine
told me that Josh had struggled with alcohol in the past and his drinking
amped up again during the pandemic. She told me for the sake of her son
she decided she needed to divorce Josh.
We discussed in detail the impact of divorce on children because she wanted
to know in my experience what I thought about her divorcing with a child
of such a tender age. As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney and
mediator I gave her insight from my 35 years of experience.
I asked if she and Josh had considered therapy to help with their marital
issues, and she told me they had tried a few sessions and it just didn’t work.
We discussed at length mediation vs. litigation. Elaine said she still
had compassion for Josh and just didn’t want to fight anymore. It
was important to her to maintain some civility. She decided that mediation
might be a good starting point, and I made some suggestions on how to
speak with Josh about mediation. I offered to speak with Josh separately
to hear his wants and needs and to explain how mediation works.
When I spoke with Josh he admitted that the stress of life during COVID
had swallowed him up and his relief was a shot of scotch here and there
to relieve his pain.
He was very hurt that Elaine didn’t want him caring for their son
independent of doing it with her. He felt Elaine was being controlling
and distrusted him. He also agreed the marriage was over and he needed
to let go.
He expressed how important it was for him to be part of his son’s
life. He said he would do whatever it takes for him to be a good dad.
Elaine and Josh did decide to try mediation. They were able to make decisions
about their home, two timeshares, a small Etsy business they have where
they sell dog products (inspired by their bulldog), and how to divide
As a mediator who thinks “outside of the box,” I came up with
several creative ideas on how Elaine and Josh would share custody of their
baby boy. We structured a parenting agreement in which Josh agreed to
supervised visitation with his mother present until he was feeling better
emotionally and could stabilize his behavior. We discussed therapy for
his alcoholism and he actually joined AA online. Josh also agreed to take
some parenting classes virtually to give him additional support.
Lisa and Josh had a few angry conversations and lots of tearful moments
during our mediation sessions, but they are both now on their way to a
healthier and happier life for themselves and their son.
Mediation does not always work, but it is always worth a try. Mediation
is a productive, non-adversarial process that gives a couple strength,
dignity, and finality. In this case, mediation was the soothing bandage
their marriage needed to transition to a better life.
As their mediator, I encouraged them to talk things through, gave them
suggestions on how to have the difficult discussions, advised on making
important legal and life decisions, and helped them achieve a more peaceful
and healthy dissolution to their marriage.
If you would like to share your story with me, call me. I will give you
common sense answers to all your divorce questions. I will help you, as
I did with Lisa and Josh, to find a silver lining, using my powerful divorce
mediation method so you can move on with your life peacefully.
During the ongoing COVID pandemic all our
FREE CONSULTATIONS are
conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.
I look forward to hearing your story, and helping you find the best possible solution.
Stay Healthy and Safe!
New York divorce attorney Lois Brenner still has some appointments available
Please call to schedule your FREE consultation now.