Most people going through a divorce are not getting along -- that’s why they are dissolving the marriage -- and yes, they fight. That doesn’t mean that they cannot mediate. And in fact, if they litigate, it will cost them more money and more pain, because their attorneys do the fighting for them (on the phone and in court). An experienced mediator knows how to deflect conflict and re-focus the parties on their needs and interests rather than their rigid positions. The qualified mediator will balance the parties, empower both parties to be heard as to their concerns, facilitate the problem solving, and brainstorm solutions that will be mutually satisfying. Divorcing couples are in pain -- they are uncomfortable with the conflict -- and that is why they want out of the marriage. Family-law litigation only increases the distrust and fosters arguing. The divorce attorneys must argue to a judge to try and win what you want. In divorce mediation, an effective mediator will stop you from arguing with each other, and re-direct the discussion to focus on why you have the position that you do, help you implement a plan to help both sides to get what they really want, within the bounds of the law without the intense acrimony. If you want to work out solutions to move on in your life with less stress, find an experienced mediator who will give you and your spouse the tools to get what you need without fighting. You’ll focus on solutions instead of battles!
Mari Frank is a divorce attorney-mediator in Laguna Niguel, CA (Orange County). She has been featured on numerous national television shows including 48 Hours, Dateline, NBC Nightly News, and The O'Reilly Factor and in newspapers across the nation including the L.A. Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.