The Value of Divorce Mediation

The Value of Divorce MediationThis article was originally published in FYI Magazine, the fastest growing home and lifestyle magazine for Jewish women.

When couples are considering divorce, the first step is to work through it. Is there any possibility of saving the relationship? If both people are willing to work and fight for each other, often the marriage doesn’t have to end.

Sometimes, however, there are legitimate reasons why they just can’t make the marriage work. Divorce may be the only option.

Such was the case for one of my recent clients.

After seeing many professionals in an attempt to salvage their marriage, they came to the realization that divorce was their best option. This was a difficult decision for a number of reasons, most importantly the fact that they had a child together. The last thing they wanted to do was put their kid through a grueling, drawn-out battle.

But there were also a number of areas where they simply didn’t agree. Both of them were digging in for a painful fight.

So I suggested divorce mediation and explained the benefits. Instead of publicly battling each other in civil court or airing their dirty laundry in front of the Beth Din, they would meet privately with me – either together or separately.

In those meetings, we would lay out everything that each of them wanted from the divorce. In places where they disagreed, we would talk about those disagreements and work to come to a mutually beneficial resolution.

If there were other issues related to their marriage that came up during mediation, we could talk about those as well. If they needed to yell, they could. If they needed to cry, they could. Divorce mediation was a place to get everything out, so when they did eventually appear in Beth Din to receive their GET and civil court for their legal divorce, they would be calm, cool, and collected.

And because I would be working for both of them, my only goal would be to facilitate conversation and agreement. That way, both of them could amicably move past this and get on with their lives and helping to raise their child.

At first the wife wasn’t sure. Her friends had advised her that going through Beth Din and civil court was the only way to get what she wanted. So I asked the husband if he could leave, so I could talk to his wife in private.

I had her list all of her concerns. Everything she wanted out of an agreement. Then I asked if she would give divorce mediation a try if I told her she would probably get around 80% of everything she envisioned. She said yes.

The entire process took about a month. And at the end of it, she not only got way more than she had hoped for, but parted ways with her ex on amicable terms.

This is not a unique situation. I have similar stories for numerous clients who have gone through divorce mediation. Simply put, it’s what divorce mediation does.

You sit down, talk over your disagreements in private, and work together to come to a solution where both of you feel satisfied.

Once an agreement is reached, an attorney is brought in to draft the legal documents. You only need to appear in Beth Din once you are set to execute the GET and in civil divorce court to sign off on the documents. You can even do these things simultaneously.

When you handle the process this way, you not only save yourself stress and embarrassment, but also your loved ones – including your children.

Rooting for you!

Sara Freed

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