Why Do So Many Couples Utilize Mediation These Days?

It is no secret that the economy is still hurting many people and the money is just not there. The thought of spending $50,000 on a divorce is the last thing people want to (or can) do. I think that the economy may have been the initial reasons for the increase of couples utilizing mediation, but as time goes on, I think more than the cost savings, people do not want to fight. They have heard about mediation and how it can really offer a BETTER way to go through this process. I often have people ask me how many mediations are successful (or in other words, how many do NOT make it through the process). The mediations that are not successful are few and far between…but there is something that I have seen as a common thread throughout those that are unsuccessful and that is “unrealistic expectations.”

Mediation is going to be a lot less formal than litigation, but there are still legal requirements that MUST be met. Each party MUST provide completed disclosures to the other party and sign them under the penalty of perjury. In litigated cases this is often referred to as part of the “discovery process”, and while the “discovery process” in mediation is nothing like the discovery process in litigation, there is certain information that MUST be disclosed and exchanged, there are no “ifs, ands, or buts” about it.  Some people have the unrealistic expectation that they can do whatever they want and “bully” the individuals involved (such as myself and their spouse) and bully the process into getting away without complying with the law…this is not going to happen…sometimes that creates enough frustration that the process fails.   Some people ask WHY this must happen since they agree and the answer is “because the law says it has to happen.” I CAN change the way the process takes place (I can make it much easier) but I cannot change legal requirements. So it is what it is. Period.

In the same line of thinking, another unrealistic expectation that I hear is “I don’t care what the law says, I deserve MORE because of what he/she put me through.”  Believe me, I UNDERSTAND the thoughts and feelings behind this and I often DO have the spouse who chose to leave offer MORE for whatever reason, but you cannot come into mediation expecting more just “because he/she is a jerk and chose to leave.” I am a firm believer that it is never an individual choice to end a marriage.

Let me clarify – it MAY in fact have been one of the two spouses who finally decide they cannot live the way they have been living and call it quits…but what I do not believe is that a broken marriage is the fault of just one of the spouses. Perhaps one spouse has contributed a little more to the unhappiness in the marriage, but at the end of the day, it takes two to tango. Either you both have put your all into the marriage or you haven’t. It is as simple as that.  And maybe the fault of one of the spouses is merely allowing an unhealthy relationship to continue for far too many years,

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