If you’re reading this, you’re probably not in such a good place right now. However it happens, realizing that your marriage doesn’t make you happy and that something has to change is a tough spot. You might be early on in the process. Or maybe you’re not looking forward to doing battle with your ex, each of you armed with lawyers. We’re here to tell you that there is an alternative – Divorce Mediation.
If you’re new to the idea of mediation, or friendly divorce, it may seem like an idea for an improbable family film, but in practice it provides the opportunity for you to and your spouse to come out of your divorce with your dignity and sanity intact. You have lots of life left. You want to be able to move on to what’s next.
Divorce doesn’t have to leave your family life in tatters and you in a worse place than before you were married. Divorce mediation offers an avenue to end your marriage and strengthen your own life. You wouldn’t be looking for divorce options if everything was rosy. Living in the day-to-day of a bad marriage is no one’s idea of fun and happiness. You yearn for something better. You deserve something better. You’ve likely heard more bad divorce stories than you have good divorce stories. How is a good divorce even possible? At Peace Talks Mediation here in Los Angeles, that’s mostly what we see. Good divorces. Good divorces for both parties.
Your divorce is permanent. The legal process may conclude with signed and witnessed documents. But your divorce, whether or not you remarry, continues well after the ink is dry. Marriage changed your life. Divorce will too. The details will differ depending on whether you asked for the divorce or if it’s your spouse’s decision, but the impact will affect the both of your lives and most importantly, the lives of your children.
It is up to you to determine what that impact will be. In fact, you can have a good deal of control about how your divorce goes. If you want the divorce, you are looking forward to the day when your next chapter begins. If divorce is not your decision, you’d like to know more about what went wrong and look forward to better days. Either way, you’re probably feeling that mix of fear and excitement that accompany most major life decisions. And divorce certainly fits into the major life decision category.
If you’re looking for options to the adversarial approach to divorce, an option to fighting it out in the courts, you’re not alone. Peaceful divorce sounds like an oxymoron but it’s worked for many, many people. Are you really looking forward to an ongoing, potentially bitter battle with your spouse? It’s enough that the marriage is over. You don’t need to suffer the additional emotional bruising that often comes with that approach. You can come out of all this more prepared for the rest of your life.
Divorce mediation is truly a learning process. What you’ll learn about you and your spouse, as well as the whys and hows of how you got you here, will affect every aspect of your divorce. Money and property division. Your kids. Your extended family. And what happens next. The insight and peacemaking skills you’ll learn from the mediation process will stay with you the rest of your life.
Diana Mercer is an Attorney-Mediator and the founder of Peace Talks Mediation Services, peace-talks.com. She is the co-author of Making Divorce Work: 8 Essential Keys to Resolving Conflict and Rebuilding Your Life (Penguin/Perigee 2010), Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001) and 8 Simple Keys to Building and Growing Your Mediation or Arbitration Practice (Peace Talks Press 2011). Diana also writes for the Huffington Post as well as her own blog Making Divorce Work.