Do we have to be “amicable” to mediate our divorce?
Many couples contemplating divorce are under the false impression that they must get along and be “amicable” to mediate their divorce or separation. This is a common misconception. The truth is that the vast majority of mediation clients will, at some point during the mediation, express anger, hurt or resentment towards their spouse. This is normal given the high emotional stakes and the history between them. They will not always feel “amicable” given all that has occurred to bring them to this point. A trained divorce mediator offers a safe space for clients to express themselves despite their feelings of discomfort, but at the same time, makes sure that the clients stay on track to work through the issues that prove to be the most difficult and contentious. A trained mediator will help their clients focus on the common goals of achieving a resolution without undue costs and without further adding emotional stress to themselves or especially their children.
A mediation atmosphere that is as comfortable
In mediation, we help provide an atmosphere that is as comfortable as possible given the circumstances to negotiate with one another and to achieve compromises. As with all negotiations, both parties have to be willing to compromise. If one person is excessively rigid –it’s my way or the highway- compromise will be difficult. If one parent uses their children as leverage, and does not consider the harm to the children that a prolonged court battle will likely incur, mediation will likely be tougher. We typically find in mediation that even when parents are not amicable with one another regarding issues between them, most parents, who know their children best, will work together in mediation for the benefit of the children they love and have raised together.
Advice for an Amicable Divorce
In our practice, we work with patience and understanding to help clients communicate their concerns to one another about themselves or their children, so that a resolution can be achieved that can address each of their needs. We have much experience helping clients express themselves effectively in the here and now and as calmly as possible when there have been communication difficulties of long-standing. This way, they can focus on what needs to be accomplished when separating assets and when determining issues related to the children.
Well over ninety percent of our clients have completed their mediation successfully. That’s because we help them identify what their most important concerns are and assist them in putting the interests of their children first rather than focusing on the negative emotions that arise during this difficult period in their lives. Divorcing amicably or not, our clients usually recognize that they would rather divide their assets between themselves rather than give it to their lawyers and that it would be better for them emotionally if they can reach an agreement that they have tailored for themselves and that will work best for both of them in the future.