Frequently, only one of two people in a marriage makes the decision to divorce. You’ve taken the time to process the idea and have even done some research. You looked up mediation and like the idea of working with a neutral professional who will help you both determine your own future without excessive attorney fees.
Even if you can’t talk to each other mediation is effective, but both of you must agree to try. You feel this is the way to go, but how are you going to explain divorce mediation? Remember, even if the word “divorce” has been thrown out in an argument, your spouse is unsuspecting. The more the “D” word has been tossed out without actual consequences, the more stunning the news.
To have the best possible discussion, consider these points:
Plan the Discussion: If there’s concern about an extremely emotional reaction, the discussion
could include a close friend or take place in a therapy session. You could
arrange to have the children stay overnight with grandparents. Some people
plan a date at a restaurant which is a mistake. This is an emotional and
very personal discussion. Privacy is paramount.
Discuss Only Divorce: You have had weeks and sometimes months to prepare. It is important to
give him or her time to absorb that this is really going to happen by
only discussing the
decision to divorce. Still, some people are so convinced that
mediation is the way to go, they want to immediately launch into explaining the
mediation process. But discussing
any divorce process is premature. The actual moment you realize you are getting
divorced is one of the worst. Your spouse will feel stunned, betrayed
or even angry. Those negative feelings will taint
everything in the discussion. In addition, most people also feel totally out of control.
When we feel threatened, “NO” is a very empowering word, even
to a divorce process that has unique
- Be Compassionate: If you haven’t mutually discussed the actual idea of divorce, it must be done with compassion. This is not the time to cast blame. Instead, explain how you feel as calmly as possible. Focus on the fact that you need to do this for you instead of on the reasons you have for leaving. Truth and tact are not mutually exclusive. You’ll need both.
- Give Time for Your Spouse to Process. After discussing divorce, wait for a while to discuss how this is going to happen. Wait at least several days and see if your spouse is open to discussing divorce further. If not, let them know they can take more time. The length of this waiting period is intensely personal. At some point, when you ask if we can discuss the “how” it will be accepted. If you absolutely cannot wait any longer, bring up the discussion of “how” in the same planned manner. Focus on giving your spouse a sense of control. “I cannot stay married but it is your decision whether we do mediation.”
- Don’t Insist on an Immediate Answer: After you finally have the discussion about mediation and the benefits of deciding your own future together at a reasonable cost, don’t insist on an answer. Suggest that your spouse do his or her own research.
Discuss Finding a Mediator You Both Trust: You want someone you
both feel is completely qualified to help you through the maze of divorce. Someone
you can trust. Look for a legal professional with plenty of experience,
happy client testimonials, and an intentional focus on mediation, not just family law.
If you think divorce mediation is right for you and your spouse, Derr & Villarreal, LLC and our team of mediators have been helping clients throughout Oshkosh, West Bend, and Beaver Dam for more than 50 combined years of legal experience. While we have the knowledge and know-how to help you through divorce litigation, our focus is on mediation, which is possible for most divorcing couples and spares them from the stress and cost of a traditional divorce.
Contact us online or call (920) 365-5959 to learn more about mediation, or to retain our services.