You find yourself facing a crisis in your life. Your marriage. You’ve landed on the side of divorce (by choice or not). Questions are swirling… What should your next step be? Lawyer up and prepare for the trip(s) to court? You’re not sure where to start or what your first step should be…
An important question before you start is, “What are your divorce choices and alternatives?” How you start can make a big difference in where you end up.
Court processes are rooted in finding out where to place guilt, blame and fault–a process that tries to find out who the criminal is and to punish them. It isn’t the best place to handle families or family issues. Because of the way we treat divorce in the US many couples begin the litigation process only to end up feeling punished, angry, financially devastated, and anything but themselves because a criminal process has been applied to a family system.
It is a critical mistake to think of divorce as a legal dispute that can only be handled in a courtroom or needs to be handled by lawyers. There are other alternatives. The court’s processes neglect to understand that divorce is not primarily a business dispute, it’s a family situation. Differences around the division of assets become hardened divides when fueled by the misguided advising (and actions) of combative attorneys. The resulting experience produces bitterness and erodes trust for years and sometimes a lifetime.
There are very ethical attorneys out there and many people feel the need to gain legal information. However, the problem is that the language of law is oriented to be very confrontational and combative. AND even our well-meaning loved ones and friends who may have the best of intentions often succeed in fueling and stoking the firey flame rather than helping you to move forward and figure things out together. So, even with good ethics and good intentions, it often appears that someone is picking a fight and agitating situations throwing fire on the situation. Going the traditional divorce lawyer route is an adversarial process of competing.
The stark reality is that the legal system is not created for family situations; it’s created for crime. And almost without exception every couple I have known that has gone through the litigation process for their divorce has ended up feeling like they were treated as a criminal. And that’s what the system is for—to process criminals. But, with the recent growth of alternative dispute and collaborative processes, options like mediation, family court and divorce are moving towards a more ethical supportive process.
Mediation as an Alternative.
Mediation is where spouses can be supported to make decisions, they feel, will work for them and their family. Family mediators support families who have decided that the best answer for their family is two households not one, to make that situation work with love and understanding in a way that supports them.
The goal should be to help you become the best divorced family you can be, because you’re still a family (if there are kids)! Getting you through the divorce process without either of you feeling like a criminal is a good start. Mediation can help you do that.
Your Divorce Experience can be Something Different.
You’ve heard the horror stories and seen the messes, but it doesn’t have to go that way. There is an alterative to the emotional and economic demise. Family mediators who are also CDFA’s are especially trained in the finances of divorce and can help you determine what being okay will look like and how to get there. Today’s parents are looking and finding a better way for themselves and their families. Even as couples split to go their separate ways there are choices about how to divorce that can make all the difference. Not only is mediation a choice for today’s divorcing couples but our overloaded courts often require you to attempt to settle out of court before going to trial. Mediation confirms that you’ve done that and it can help you to get through the conversations you need to have and decisions you need to make in a kinder, gentler and yet real way. Mediation is helping families every day to stay together. It helps parents to sort out their differences, make decisions and parent together.
Divorce has a legal side and finances are a part of that as well as mental and emotional health. Marriage and divorce have legal implications, but divorce and marriage are primarily family situations that need to be handled with some tender loving care (TLC) while the two of you work together to face what you need to face (your current situation) to decide how to separate and how you’ll care for your children.
The Good News–Divorce is Changing.
Fortunately, due to the increasing use of processes like mediation, today, only 5% of divorce cases are actually litigated. That is good news. The good news in divorce is that there is a better way to divorce especially for families. There is an alternative to the courts deciding your divorce and lives
ahead. Mediation is available to support you in making decisions that make sense for you and your future.
If you want to have a conversation about an alternative to combative divorce with someone who understands the finances, Great River Mediations would love to talk with you. Set up your free consultation to find out how your family can be supported through the divorce process. You can find us at www.greatrivermediations.com