By some studies, two-thirds of American marriages fail. The events leading to the failure are painful experiences. The process of moving on does not have to be painful as well. A marriage is a partnership and when the partnership fails, what remains is a distribution of partnership assets and liabilities. Many couples simply want that to be done amicably, even with a sense of fair play, so that they can move on with their lives. For those couples, mediation offers the opportunity for “pain free” divorce as well as a very substantial cost savings.
Mediation is a process by which both the husband and the wife engage a matrimonial attorney as a mediator and usually split the costs. The mediator reviews the marriage circumstances, the various assets and responsibilities, and gives the couple some global insights as to how to typically address those rights, responsibilities, and the distribution of marital property. The mediator is deemed neutral. He or she simply provides the couple with an understanding, via a balanced approach, as to how things most typically could shake out if a matrimonial action was litigated. Often times, there are specific goals and wants of the parties, compromises and offsets. The mediator will also help towards resolution of those.
If the parties come to some understandings, the next step would be to draft a separation and property settlement agreement incorporating the resolved issues. Each party has an opportunity, should they choose, to take the proposed agreement to an attorney of their choosing. The agreement, when to the parties’ satisfaction, is then incorporated into a divorce decree.
Mediation works when the parties come to the mediator earnest in their resolve to avoid the time and expense and, perhaps, the emotional pain of matrimonial litigation. They are looking to try to secure a fair and equitable resolution of their differences and move on with their lives. Ed Tobin, the firm’s lead matrimonial attorney, is well schooled in mediation efforts, having been involved in successful mediations of multimillion dollar cases, complex litigations, for over 20 years. A successful mediation is not always a function of compromise as much as creativity, recognizing successful pathways so the needs of both parties are met.