Divorce and the Economy

Can't Stay Together--Can't Afford To Move...

With these severe economic times in which we are living, couples on the threshold of divorce are faced with untenable problems.  Trying to go-it-alone in order to save desperately needed funds is far more likely to end up with one or both of the parties engaging expensive legal services as their home remedies fall apart under the stress of relationship crisis.

At The Mediation Center we offer a wide range of problem-solving processes that range from a free initial consultation to a complete divorce mediation, including the preparation of a Marital Settlement Agreement plus the preparation and filing of all necessary court documents to complete the divorce process.

The most important feature is that control over the services and the cost of those services is completely under the control of the clients.  The same cannot be said of any other process.  Two important examples of the commitment to affordable client-centered services is the initial office consultation, which will remain free of charge for the foreseeable future, and the fact that clients can commence with the use of our problem-solving services without the requirement of an expensive retainer.

Once clients hear the unique process structures that provide safety and lead to creative solutions to the problems that confront them, their fears are replaced with knowledge, information, structured communications, and control over their circumstances, while the parties work on the agreements that allow them to move forward with their lives--protecting their children and their finances. 

"My spouse wants us to work out an agreement by ourselves!"

The issue is:  What do you do when one of the spouses wants to make an agreement without using lawyers or any formal process (typically the husband is the one) and the other spouse is fearful of this approach and is encouraged by friends and family (typically this is the wife) to go get a lawyer.

The problem is often the very first process issue that must be confronted and demonstrates the need for the parties to start working together if they wish to be successful, and the negative consequences that will result from their failure to do so.

The first thing to consider is the fact that each of them has very different and individual process needs to be successful in the process.  What follows that reality is the fact that what works for one of the parties has nothing to do with what works for the other.  For the sake of example, let's use the typical circumstances that I see coming into mediation.

When the husband insists on working things out between themselves, and fails to acknowledge the fears and desires of his wife, the couple begins a very flawed process that is destined to fail.  On the other hand, it is important for the wife to realize that if she succumbs to the pressure of her support system and hires a lawyer without becoming informed about mediation and collaborative practice as safe and cost-effective process approaches, she may ultimately harm herself financially, by embracing the artificial cloak of protection that comes with litigation.

What the parties need--especially at this early stage of discussion--is information about process options and safe, informative, and constructive conversations about how to proceed in a manner that accomplishes these important goals:

  • That the process of divorce costs no more than is necessary for the outcome to give as much benefit to each person as the resources allow and their cooperation will generate;
  • That the process makes each of them feel safe, protected and fully informed so that the resulting agreement represents the best that they can do within the limits of their circumstances; and,
  • That the children are protected from any unnecessary harm as a result of the psychological and emotional dynamics of the adults.

Even if a husband and a wife have a sufficiently respectful relationship that they can sit down and discuss things calmly without emotional threats, anger, or intimidation, it is not likely that each of them has sufficient understanding about the application of the law to each and every one of their circumstances.  More importantly and, to the extent that the law is a very inadequate answer to all their problems, they probably lack the ability or knowledge of how to develop unique solutions to their particular problems that would create the most satisfying and meaningful settlement.

At The Mediation Center, a free introductory consultation will explain in much greater detail how the clients can access these necessary services in a cost-effective and affordable way that will guarantee the family an opportunity to achieve each of these important goals.

For more information, contact us at 831-429-9721 and ask for Lucy Gowan