Jun 28, 2013
Curing the Divorce Litigation Plague
Blog, Child Support Mediation, Divorce and Children, Divorce Mediation, Divorce Trends: Children and Divorce, Mediation Services
People seldom expect or prepare for divorce. It hits like an earthquake and they scramble to find solid ground; often stepping into a collapsing building instead of to safety. They rely on the age-old assumption that their spouse is now the enemy and that they must “protect” themselves by hiring a litigation attorney. This way of thinking is as old as time and as destructive as any of the illnesses that plagued people back then. Thankfully we have conquered many of those illnesses and have also created a much better way to divorce.
Recently I received an e-mail from a respected colleague whose friend was stepping into divorce litigation. I am sharing her message and my response below in hopes that it will clarify this important decision for all of our readers.
I hope this finds you well.
A great friend of mine has just started what I believe will be a bitter divorce and I’m trying to convince her to talk to you about your process. They have already hired lawyers and so far, not so good.
Her perception is as follows. Can you let me know if she is correct and how your process might differ?
“We sit with the lawyers and try to work out something simply. Whatever we can’t resolve we then take to a mediator. If we go to a mediator first, then whatever we can’t resolve gets litigated. That seems to me to be the poorer choice.”
I’m hoping she will carefully consider other options as there are kids involved and emotions are high.
Thank you for your thoughts.
It is good to hear from you and I am grateful that you thought to seek my advice.
As you know well, the children will suffer as a result of their parent’s decision to make their divorce a war instead of a sensible transition. Their choice to place their children in a battle zone will cause them long term emotional harm and divert valuable funds to their lawyer’s children instead of their own. Unfortunately, the more they immerse themselves in the “litigation” way of thinking the more difficult it is for them to switch to the more sensible approach of mediation.
You can assure them that all of their children’s, financial and legal matters are fully concluded in our program so there is no reason to litigate any issues. This is true for 85% of the people who participate in our program. Of the 15% who do not finish the program, roughly half end up reconciling. The other’s do get sent into litigation because either or both of them allow their hatred of each other to be stronger than their love of their children and their common sense.
This is one of the most important decisions they will make in their lives. It will be far better for their children and their financial futures if they put aside negative emotions and act on good old fashion common sense. They may want to come in for a consultation which is free. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Keila M. Gilbert, Esquire