People in family law disputes often feel hurt and broken by the actions of their spouse. Adultery, domestic violence, lying, belittling, and emotional abuse are some of the common concerns we see. Their hurt is so deep that it has become a physical sensation and they can never imagine a time when they won’t be consumed by their anger and grief. No one can hurt you quite as badly as those you have deeply loved. Because of the hurt and anger, people often don’t consider mediation for a custody dispute.
Why Mediation Can Be A Great Option
It might seem strange that I suggest you come to mediation with the person who caused you so much pain, but hear me out. That person is also the father or mother of your child, your grandchildren’s grandmother etc. While it sounds impossible now, you will have to be in the same room with that person for violin recitals, school plays, graduations, broken bones, weddings, and at birthday parties for their entire lives. Trust me when I say that if you are willing to even give mediation a try, events for the next several decades will be so much easier. Why? Because we often see how court makes things worse for families.
Court Can Make Things Worse
People often hire lawyers believing that court cannot possibly make anything worse because they are so angry and things are so bad. Imagine these scenarios. Your spouse’s lawyer files a complaint in court that twists your words and made you look like an abusive, mentally unstable person and you realize that it is possible to get even angrier. Then your spouse’s lawyer questions you about a conversation you had with your spouse at a time when you were in a dark place seeking comfort. You suddenly you realize that your trust could be violated in ways you never thought possible.
The stress of back and forth from the lawyers, the preparation for court and your lawyer’s bills can wear you down. Sometimes this can last for months or even years. At the end of it, a stranger in a black robe decides not only your fate, but the fate of your children. At this point, win or lose doesn’t even matter anymore. You just feel done and you are even more so unable to say your ex’s name, let alone be in the same room for a ballet rehearsal.
Sometimes it is very necessary to go to court and at Davis Law Practice, we guide individuals through the stressful process and ensure your voice is heard. However, in many cases, mediation provides a better alternative.
A Better Alternative
A skilled mediator will make sure you are empowered to share your concerns and validate your feelings. The issues most important to you and your children will be the focus of the mediation. In many mediations, creative solutions can be reached that work better for your family, compared to what a judge would order. The process saves you tens of thousands of dollars and an outcome is reached much sooner, cutting down on the stress of uncertainty.
Many people believe that they are too hurt or too angry for mediation, but it is often not true. You wouldn’t consider mediation if you and your ex were in agreement or if you had good communication. A good mediator expects for there to be tension, hurt and even a high level of conflict upon starting the mediation. Mediation is not about making those feelings go away, but about facilitating a process where at least some issues can be resolved without a judge.
Redefine Your Family
Mediation allows you to redefine your family rather than destroy it. Instead of harming your children by putting them in the middle, you and your spouse will model the incredibly tough and brave work of resolving differences — even when you are not ready to forgive or forget. I’ve seen first hand divorces destroy parent-child relationships, and in those situations, there are no winners. The children are the ones who suffer the most.
Control the Outcome
A good mediator will always emphasize that you are in control of the outcome in mediation. No mediator should ever force you into a resolution or tell you what is best for your children. If you don’t reach an agreement that is ok. It is a voluntary process from the moment you reach out to a mediator to when you walk out the door. Maybe you will come back another day. Maybe you will decide mediation is not for you. But maybe you will walk away from the process understanding the issues a little better and feeling like your ex understands you a little better.
If you and your ex are interested in mediation, please call us today or reach out through our website. For more information on our mediation services, please go to our mediation services page.