The divorce industry is plagued with the motto, “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
It’s time for a welcome change!
When considering divorce, couples are usually familiar with going to court
and fighting. More and more couples are learning there are more peaceful options.
These days, clients ask during consultations more about the difference
between “litigation” and “mediation.” Sometimes
after answering their questions, I ask, “Do you want to “punish”
or “not to punish” your spouse?”
Believe it or not, there are those spouses who want to fight. They only
see “red” and nothing is going to change their mind. But for
those open to a non-adversarial option, there is a more positive and peaceful
solution – it’s mediation.
I say, “The business of divorce is to litigate. The emotion of divorce
is to mediate. Both paths, litigation and mediation, lead to a divorce
but the intention and the process are very different."
Under the traditional system originally imported from England, couples
went to court to obtain a divorce.
Each spouse hires his or her own "advocate," and they engage
in what is normally an adversarial process. The steps can include negotiation
between the attorneys. If or when this is not working, there is always
the threat of "going to court," where a judge will make decisions
about all the issues, including custody and visitation, child support,
spousal support, and the division of property.
The court process is particularly daunting. It includes serving a summons
and complaint, an answer, and exchanging financial information and documents.
This exchange is called "discovery," and it is, in fact, a way
to find out the facts about the parties' finances.
Discovery can include subpoenas served on banks, businesses, and third
parties. It may also include applications made to the court for various
types of relief, such as temporary child and spousal support, interim
custody, and counsel fees.
Once you get locked into the system, it is extremely hard to find your
way out. It is expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. Ultimately,
it may be the only vehicle for warring couples of a certain ilk.
In some cases, I call this the vehicle to “punish.” This path
is often attractive to spouses who want revenge, enjoy conflict, and seek
to maintain control over the other spouse.
Mediation is positive, productive and peaceful! Why fight when you can
discuss, negotiate, and participate in a thoughtful and peaceful divorce
process? Mediation offers a more humane, less painful way to approach
divorce. With mediation there are no losers; everyone is a winner.
This path to divorce involves working with an unbiased mediator, usually
a lawyer, whose function it is to assist a couple in a peaceful process,
to make decisions together, and to arrive an agreement that is fair to both.
For people who have never experienced it, mediation is surprisingly and
stunningly effective. It is quick, inexpensive, and not adversarial.
Mediation is a three-part process, consisting of the negotiations, the
preparation of an agreement, and the preparation and submission of the
divorce documents to a judge for signature.
Mediation is a negotiated process between divorcing spouses on the important
issues: finances, support, property, and children.
The focus of mediation is for you to control your own divorce. Spouses
have the opportunity to discuss their personal needs and priorities and
to arrive together at an agreement that is fair to both of them.
What is important to most spouses in any divorce process is to be:
4.) emotionally supported
They also want:
5.) the process done in a timely manner
6.) a fair settlement
7.) to avoid court
8.) to not have to spend their life savings on lawyers
As a divorce attorney and psychologically trained meditator with over 35
years experience, I have seen mediation become the popular choice of many
In fact, during the pandemic, while the courts have been closed, couples
have embraced mediation and this method is growing in popularity.
Another appealing aspect of the mediation process is time and cost. Most
divorce mediation cases can be resolved in months instead of years and
can cost thousands instead of tens of thousands of dollars.
If you need some creative advice on how to approach your divorce using
the power of mediation, call me.
I can provide you with the support and tools necessary to start your divorce
FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are very
conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk!
I look forward to speaking with you.
Stay healthy and safe!
Call New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner to schedule your FREE consultation!