Like every process, there has to be an end product. During your divorce mediation, the ultimate goal is to obtain a written agreement that spells out all the aspects of your divorce and the conclusions you and your spouse have reached. But I am sure that there are times when you look at the written document and say, "Is this REALLY going to work?" After years of mediating divorces and a variety of conflicts, I think everyone asks that question. The key to getting the answer you want from that question is to be thorough, patient, honest, and committed to a fair settlement.
As a Divorce Mediator, I have seen many couples who start out at far ends of the spectrum in everything from dividing up dishes and flatware to child custody and the marital residence. A Divorce Mediator guides, with purpose and direction, a divorcing couple towards a desired outcome-the separation of assets, liabilities, property, and a responsible child custody agreement and parenting plan. Many couples get bogged down with the details of the process and lose sight of their goals. Divorce Mediators keep discussions organized and productive with a careful eye towards items that will pose future problems.
During the mediation process, it is obvious to the neutral Mediator when issues come up that are going to be difficult for one or the other partner to live with. Simply monitoring the nature of the discussion, these areas become red flags. Having a Divorce Mediator who can recognize these red flags and guide attention to them with a more workable solution in mind can avert those trouble spots and arrive at a more long lasting agreement.
But perhaps, most importantly, when both spouses are involved with every detail of the divorce process, an "investment" is created. The parties feel a sense of commitment and dedication to the agreement they struggled to forge and that commitment will sustain the integrity of the agreement. With the guidance of their Mediator, couples respect the divorce agreement and are much more likely to live up to its provisions. This is a vital key to a sustaining framework for the divorced partners to live and behave within. A sustainable divorce agreement is perhaps the greatest gift a couple can leave the Mediation process with and Mediation makes this possible.
Brian James is an experienced divorce and family mediator with offices throughout Chicagoland and Southeastern Wisconsin. He runs a mediation practice, C.E.L. and Associates. He can be reached at (312) 524-5829. View his Divorce Magazine profile.
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