Client-Directed Mediation Individualizes the Divorce Process
All human beings were created uniquely different. And all marital relationships
are unique as well. When current statistics show that more than half of
today’s marriages will fail, that reality should dictate that divorce
proceedings should be unique, too. It seems that many family law mediators
have a set agenda for divorce mediations, always beginning with one particular
issue and moving down their agenda methodically.
At the Center for Mediated Divorce in Orange County, California, we have
observed divorcing couples for nearly twenty years and find that each
situation is unique with a unique set of issues and possible solutions.
At CMD, each divorcing couple is given the opportunity at the very beginning
of the process to frame their individual issues and then prioritize them
to best meet their needs and the needs of their families.
Most divorcing couples choose
mediation for the most obvious reason: it’s less expensive and preserves the
couple’s assets to be divided. The second most-listed reason for
choosing mediation is to keep the emotions in check and to preserve relationships
with children, family and friends long after the divorce has been granted.
At the Center for Mediated Divorce couples have the added advantage of
setting their own priorities and goals. They are led to discuss the issues
they each believe to be important and then are encouraged to create a
“road map” to reach agreements and solutions of their own
Couples often ask: “What will be do in the first session?”
The answer at CMD is: “What is most important for you to discuss
and to decide first?”
Couples are often stunned that THEY are in charge of developing a plan
to reach consensus on their own particular issues.
Sometimes couples are most concerned about the house they jointly own.
They are concerned with who will stay in the house; will they co-own it
after the divorce; will they put it on the market immediately or will
it need repairs or updating; will one of them be able to buy-out the other’s
interest…and on and on.
Sometimes couples are most concerned with parenting plans. They are concerned
with where the children will live primarily and whether they will be able
to attend the same schools. They are concerned with how they will share
the children’s expenses. They want to consider whether the children
will be able to remain in their extra-curricular activities.
Sometimes couples have already been separated for some time and are concerned
about how to equalize expenses which have been paid by one of them; or
how to split standing joint expenses; or how to equalize assets or accounts