By Jane Lubowitz Rosenstadt, JD
“How can we mediate when we don’t agree on ANYTHING? That’s why we’re getting divorced!”
“We fight non-stop! How could we possibly come to the terms of our separation agreement through mediation?”
These are among the questions I am asked most often, and the answer to these questions is, YES, you can successfully mediate your separation and divorce even if you fight constantly, agree on nothing, can’t speak to one another, or all of the above! In fact, many divorcing couples are in the same boat, and still the process of mediation works for them.
While many people assume that mediation is only for couples who get along reasonably well or who come to the table already in basic agreement about what to do, this common myth could not be farther from the truth.
Often the only thing that couples who turn to mediation agree upon initially is that they want to be the ones making the decisions that will so deeply affect their lives going forward. They do not want to put these all-important decisions into someone else’s hands, be they lawyers or judges.
Couples who turn to mediation are also commonly motivated by the desire to avoid the unnecessary waste of their valuable resources, their time, their money or their sanity. In other words, they agree upon the fact that they don’t want things to become more difficult, more costly, more time-consuming or more hostile than necessary, particularly when children are involved.
It is the unique context of mediation that allows couples, even those who can’t speak to one another, to work their way through the important and difficult decisions that need to be made. Working with a qualified mediator – a neutral third person with the experience, expertise, knowledge and sensitivity to guide them – the couple is able to focus on the issues at hand and arrive at the terms of a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator allows these couples, to their great relief, to see a roadmap of how their lives will look going forward and enables them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Moreover, this is accomplished without draining their valuable resources.
Too many people turn to the adversarial process because of the common misconception that only parties who get along amicably are suited to mediate. Sadly, once that happens, much is lost for these couples in lengthy legal battles and in having turned over to others the important decisions in their lives.
Jane Lubowitz Rosenstadt, JD having practiced as a trial attorney for most of her legal career, now dedicates herself entirely to the practice of divorce mediation. Throughout her career, Jane has been devoted to helping families and children. Before entering the field of divorce mediation, Jane was the Deputy Bureau Chief of the Sex Crimes/Special Victims’ Bureau of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. She received training in divorce mediation at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York City and is skilled in helping couples navigate the challenges that arise as a result of their separation and divorce. As an attorney-mediator, Jane assists couples in resolving these issues constructively through mediation and provides all related legal services.