Yesterday, in my home town, at 3:38 P.M. the thermometer registered 88 degrees.

I am definitely not ready for summer to come to a close…and yet, today, the calendar tells me otherwise.

Who is ever ready for change?

When a couple comes into Mediate for Life for a session for the first time, it is rare that they are ready for the Divorce.

Sure, they may both be pissed off; scared; angry; anxious; fuming; emotionally paralyzed; sick in the stomach and depressed. Yet one can’t wait for the Judgement of Divorce to be signed while the other wants to rewind the clock.

As practicing Divorce Mediators, with 3 decades of professional experience in the Law and Psychotherapy fields, it is up to us to determine when and how to broach sensitive, mine field topics.

What do you do when in the first session, the wife tells the husband that she wants full custody of the children, 100% of the marital house, the entirety of his retirement benefits; an exorbitant child support and an inflated maintenance , when it was the husband who walked in on his wife in bed with her co-worker.?

How do you preserve clarity and foster respect when the husband starts off by stating that he will cede to all of the wife’s demands but he remains resolute that the Family Business is not run by him, he is merely an employee and he should not be valued as if he were his father, the real principle owner of the business.?

While it is good that communication has taken place and positions are disclosed, it is certain that the parties are ill equipped to process such integral and complicated emotional, mental and financial issues at first blush and with such a heavy and damaged mindset.

Herein lays the conundrum we as divorce mediators have when presented with scenarios such as these. The cogent and most successful protocol when the couple is stuck in diametrical corners is to visit and revisit and reframe and drill down into what each of them is actually thinking, wanting and perceiving as the goal. Realistically, this process may taker several sessions together with much communication, listening, patience and tolerance. The problem arises when one of the couple hits their breaking point and demands that the divorce mediation abruptly end and that he/she will sign on to whatever the other wants in the Agreement.

This is not acquiescence…this is not a calculated, voluntary, knowing decision. In our professional capacity we deem this as giving up. We identify this as watching a person succumb to a deep inner personal defeat.

When a person enters the divorce mediation forum, they do so with a mental and emotional mindset. The feelings, emotions and triggers that they wear as they enter the session have been created and nourished over years of habitual misguided and misunderstood can and attention. Critical thinking and empowered decision making can be learned but it takes time and effort and fortitude.

Importantly, one can not move forward with a healthy mind without bringing with it the damaged mind. Eventually there will be a balance of the two minds and then, ultimately, your new way of viewing your world will take over.

The calendar may tell us that Summer is over and Autumn is here, but we can enjoy the inevitable warm sun filled early fall days the way we want to. The miracle always exists that Summer will arrive again, perhaps early, in 2020, thus the circle shall remain unbroken.

This is the beauty of Divorce Mediation: going in, the atmosphere may be seething with turmoil and tumult. However, in the end, the forecast is more like a late summer breeze with tranquil temperatures, azure skies and colorful leaves.

steven bettman