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Posted 05/31/2017 15:38:49
Category: Divorce Mediation

Separation of a family into 2 households creates new roles and responsibilities for all. If one parent had been primarily responsible for decision making during the marriage, that role may not be appropriate or acceptable after separation. Mediation provides the opportunity for a couple faced parenting issues to plan new parenting roles and responsibilities that will meet the needs of their children after their separation.

I have said before, we as a society have conditioned ourselves to addressing divorce, especially an emotionally charged divorce, by engaging in legal warfare that often leaves only destruction and devastation in its wake – destruction and devastation of the already strained relationship between spouses who may have to continue working together as they parent their children, or even if children are not involved, will have to move forward with their lives; destruction and devastation of a couple’s financial resources; and destruction and devastation of a couple’s most valuable resource - time. The hours wasted are lost forever. As divorce litigation spins out of control and takes on a life of its own in a process where the further you go, the less sense it makes, the more expensive it becomes, and the more escalated and inflamed are the emotions. As Dr. Hertz pointed out last week, if parents won’t deal with the issue of parental alienation themselves, judges can force them into counseling. Wouldn’t you rather make those decisions without the financial and emotional expense of litigation? Mediation is that opportunity.

How can mediation solve a problem where one spouse sees it one way and the other sees in entirely differently? If there’s no agreement, you might think that mediation won’t work. On the contrary, mediation works especially when there is disagreement. If mediation didn’t work where disagreement existed – I’d be out of work. Why seek mediation if you agree on everything? By the way, it’s not unusual for clients, or one of them, to inform me up front that they agree on everything. What that generally turns out to mean is if their spouse will agree with their point of view, then they agree on everything. Those spouses are often surprised that their spouse holds a different point of view but has chosen not to discuss the differences because it only leads to an unacceptable process that is commonly referred to as an “argument” or a “fight” and they’re tired of fighting.

 

Examples:

1. A child’s medical/physical condition that the mother thought needed attention from a doctor and the father thought not only didn’t need that attention, moreover to bring attention to it would be the wrong thing to do because it would make the daughter self-conscious.

2. Spouses thought they had reached verbal agreement to postpone litigation until they had tried mediation and not unless they first informed the other. In mediation, one spouse learned the other had arranged for an attorney to file for divorce.

3. Couple in mediation discussing a parenting schedule. Both wanted a stable environment for their children, but they differed in the definition of “stable.”

4. Couple with limited financial resources that prevented them from having 2 separate households until they sold the marital home were trying to come up with a way for the father who had moved out to spend time with the children. It wasn’t an issue of whether the father could spend time with the children, it was where – where was the marital home for the father, but that wasn’t acceptable to the mother who didn’t want to be around the father – even for short periods of time.

5. Sometimes a spouse will take action because status quo can’t continue. Unfortunately, if the action is litigation, that tends to start the downward destructive spiral that takes on a life of its own while it escalates the emotions and dissipates the family’s financial resources. Taking the step to mediate gives a couple the chance to set their path without burning their bridges. Sometimes spouses discover that neither wants things to continue with the way things are, but they don’t know how to stop the current and they don’t have the tools to change. Mediation offers them those tools, and perhaps I should clarify – Mulford Mediation offers those tools in the form of helping couples learn how to communicate. Many discover that their issues are symptoms of their communication process – when replaced with a successful communication process, the symptoms disappear.

 

 


Convenient to Northern Virginia, Mulford Mediation serves the following areas:

Bristow, Chantilly, Herndon, Reston, Centreville, Fairfax, Springfield, Vienna, Tysons Corner, Fair Oaks, Gainesville, Haymarket, Manassas, Fredericksburg, Winchester, Middleburg, Woodbridge, Dumfries, Oakton, Falls Church, McLean, Sterling, Front Royal, Leesburg, Quantico, Stafford, Fredericksburg, Culpeper, Dulles, Brambleton, South Riding, Arlington, Annandale, Warrenton, Marshall, Bealton, Dunn Loring, Great Falls, Merrifield, Lees Corner, Oak Hill, Manassas Park, Manassas City, Fauquier County, Culpeper County, Rappahannock County, Prince William County, Fairfax County, Stafford County, Spotsylvania County, Frederick County, Loudoun County, Clarke County, and Orange County.

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