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When You Are Going Through Divorce Mediation, Critics Abound!

September 28, 2018  | 

{3:40 minutes to read} There is a mindfulness meditation that I enjoy doing that focuses on the inner critic we all have — that voice in your head that tells you that you messed up, made a fool of yourself or just don’t know what you’re doing.

The suggestion is to create a picture in your mind of the critic to aid in recognizing that it is your inner critic speaking so you are not derailed. (My favorite is of a stern judge in dark robes frowning from a tall bench.) The advice is not to fight your inner critic because it’s a losing battle and not to engage your inner critic because it can take you down a path not worth pursuing. Just recognize it, acknowledge it and move on.

Sounds good, right? But it’s a lot harder to do when your critics are physically in your face and telling you that you are making a mistake. They are especially difficult to ignore when they are your friends and family who love and care for you. And they do mean well when they tell you that you are being taken advantage of in your mediation and should never agree to that settlement term.

I recently had a client say that she was scolded by a family member for agreeing to a certain term that was unfair and that she needed to take action, stand her ground, and go to court where she would get all that she was entitled to. The client responded that she had her reasons for agreeing to the term, that it worked for her and she didn’t want to discuss it anymore.

But then, like the inner critic, the thoughts stayed in her head and caused her to question herself. Thankfully she mentioned it at the next meeting.

We reviewed the give and take that led to that term being agreed upon by her. We also discussed the uncertainty of proceeding in a different forum than mediation and the lack of guarantees that one would “get all that you’re entitled to.” She reiterated her commitment to mediation and acknowledged that the measure of an acceptable settlement that she wanted to use was not the same as her family member’s.

I had another client who told me she discussed the criticism made by a friend with her attorney. Fortunately, the attorney put it in terms of the cost to the client of the money in dispute versus the costs of going to court, both monetary and emotional. She and her attorney agreed it wasn’t worth it.

Understand that well intentioned friends and family who were not in the room with you, may not fully understand the process and what you seek. If you truly believe that the term is something you understand and can live with, don’t fight or engage with them. Recognize the criticism, thank them for their concern and move on with your life. 

Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

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

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