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Why Some Mediations May Take Longer Than Others

July 27, 2018  | 

{3:00 minutes to read}  I’ve had clients who completed their mediation and signed an agreement in a few months and others who take years to complete a mediation. While complexity and the amount of conflict surely play a role, there are clearly other factors in play.

Not ready for the process yet.

It’s unusual for both parties to be in the same place in terms of accepting the end of the relationship. That said, both may agree to move forward with the separation because one of them wants to divorce, and they proceed at a normal pace. Others, though, even with a mutual agreement to begin to mediate, may only schedule meetings sporadically, with neither spouse pushing it.

As long as the delay is mutual, the pace is up to the clients. However, it becomes a problem when one wants to move more quickly than the other, which itself can become another issue to mediate. (I’m Ready to Get Divorced But My Spouse Isn’t)

A problem that seems overwhelming.

Sometimes, the passage of time can help to resolve what appears to be an unsolvable situation. I’m not sure if it’s even deliberate on the part of the clients, but putting the mediation on hold has helped some clients find resolution. For example, maintaining the status quo by living together and combining incomes can help to resolve a question of how to separate when one is unemployed, or there is too much debt to afford to live separately. Obviously, delay doesn’t work in all cases, and would definitely not be viable when it’s intolerable for the parties to live together. For some clients, however, putting things on hold can help.

Life happens.

It may be that the clients are getting along well, have no issues with paying their expenses (even if they are living in separate households), and are managing sharing time with their children without any conflict. Finalizing their separation is important and both know they will not be reconciling, but completing an agreement is not as urgent to them as other pressing matters.

As the mediator, I will follow up with clients from time to time to see how things are going, if they are ready to schedule, and if the delay continues to be mutual. At the same time, I recognize that the timetable is one of the many determinations that are in the purview of the clients. 

Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

Attorney & Mediator
500 Mamaroneck Avenue | Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
Tel: 914.946.0848

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