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  • Laura L. Van Tassel, Esq.

Divorce mediation? — You may need an exit interview first.

Ending a marriage is never an easy process for anyone involved. Divorce is emotionally and financially tough. A regular divorce can last six months to a year, that’s why so many have turned to divorce mediators like me.

There’s no wasted time in divorce mediation. Not only is mediation a less stressful and more peaceful way to divorce than battling it out in court. Mediation is less expensive. But there is a catch. Both parties have to mutually decide what they want from each other. And to do that, they have to talk.

If you are living in an unhappy marriage it may seem you and your spouse are like two strangers living under the same roof. The tension in the house is palpable. Most likely you hardly interact, and if there are children in the house, chances are you both (understandably) don’t want to talk about divorce around the kids.

So you hold it all in and wait. You wait till you are alone together. And that one place it usually occurs is in mediation. Instead of using your mediation session constructively, you fight. You fight about all the disagreements or hurts that are leading to the divorce.

Mediation is not the time and place to deal with emotional pain and anger. It’s not about winning and losing fights. It requires a shift in philosophy and belief from winner and loser to amicably negotiated resolutions where both parties receive benefits. Fighting during mediation leads to one predictable outcome— the mediation session turns into a really expensive battlefield, where nothing gets resolved which is exactly the opposite of why one chooses mediation in the first place.

The Exit Interview

I am here to tell you as a mediator that there is a more cost-effective way to skip the fighting and get to deciding. I like to call it the exit interview— and it takes place in counselors office. Divorce counseling goes by many names, including discernment counseling, pre-divorce therapy, and marital counseling and all are covered by most insurance policies.

A lot of people believe they are past the counseling part of their marriage but even if you are the one who initiated the divorce, ending a long-term relationship can be difficult. The truth is both of you may experience feelings of shame, disappointment, anger, resentment, guilt, and so much more which in turn stops both of you from moving forward. When these feelings aren't properly managed and dealt with, they can truly take a toll on your emotional and mental well-being. So I am not suggesting you go to counseling to save your marriage but help you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse learn to talk to each other civilly despite the differences, disagreements, or hurts that are leading to the divorce, to help you both move forward instead of getting stuck.

Counseling is especially useful for couples with children ( as counseling provides a place where you can have conversations). This is where you will both learn to make it through the divorce process with as little conflict as possible, helping you both move forward, avoid the stress, and financial cost of wasted time spent fighting in a lawyer’s office (the most expensive places to fight).

Are you ready to skip the fighting and get to deciding?

Only after you have resolved your emotional issues are you then ready to turn back to divorce mediation where you can both spend your time constructively, addressing the problems which must be resolved. Openly, directly and in an organized fashion, which will not only increase the likelihood that your discussions will prove successful but dramatically decrease the time that it will take the two of you to conclude an agreement.

Van Tassel Law — A Kinder Approach To Life's Legal Issues.

Here at Van Tassel Law, I always keep your best interests in mind, as well as those of your children, in order to ensure success for both individuals and the family as a whole. That said, despite its many benefits, mediation is not for everyone. You have to be ready. If you live in NJ feel free to contact me at Van Tassel Law so we can speak about your situation and evaluate your case before you spend one dime emotionally or financially.


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