The Couple Says They Want an Amicable Divorce, But Do They Mean It?

In our divorce mediation practice, we often come across couples who insist they want an amicable divorce and are ready to work cooperatively to resolve all their issues. Then we get them into the room and the fur starts to fly! So what in the world happened? Various factors might be at play:

  • Lack of self-awareness — In most cases, the parties are sincere when they say they want an amicable divorce, but they’re simply not in touch with their feelings. Dissolving a marriage is a big step, and if you haven’t processed all the emotion surrounding it, that emotion could suddenly overwhelm you at the conference table. Your spouse says something, and you turn into the very worst version of yourself. It doesn’t even have to be a provocative statement; seeing your spouse at peace with the decision can be an even greater trigger if you have unresolved feelings.
  • Lack of preparation — If you haven’t thought about what your spouse might demand in the divorce, even a reasonable request could blindside you. You need to think about what you want, but also what your spouse might want. If you thoroughly consider what the best- and worst-case scenarios might look like, you’ll probably be relieved when negotiations land you somewhere in the middle.
  • Deliberate sabotage — Often enough, people simply lie about wanting an amicable divorce, when what they really want is payback for their hurt feelings and sense of betrayal. They’re not ready to move on and they won’t move on unless they get want they want and make their spouse pay. Cases like these don’t belong in mediation. They need to go to trial.

To make divorce mediation work, both spouses have to be in the right frame of mind. Although, as mediators, we are trained to be sensitive to our clients’ emotional needs, our legal counsel is no substitute for psychological counseling. A few therapy sessions can go a long way in preparing you to divorce in a truly amicable manner.

If you’d like more information on how divorce mediation can work for you, call Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. at 1.631.683.8172 or contact our Long Island office online.

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