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The Consequences of Blame in Mediation

February 19, 2019  | 

{3:00 minutes to read} In many cases, clients decide to separate as a mutual decision and come to mediation without assessing any blame or fault on the other. In many other cases, though, one party feels either that the other party is to blame (i.e., if the other person had an affair) or that the other person is at fault because he or she is the one who wants the divorce against the wish of the other to stay married. In those cases, a pervasive attitude of blame or fault can derail the mediation or at the very least make it a much more difficult process.

Assessing Blame

It’s understandable for an aggrieved client to want to explain why he or she feels that the other person is responsible for the demise of the marriage. But it’s not helpful if blame and the past is all that person wants to address. Mediation is not marriage counseling and since you are there to reach the terms of a settlement agreement, focusing on the past is not going to help you move forward.

Feeling That You Deserve More

It’s also understandable for someone to feel that since he or she wants to stay in the marriage, then it’s up to the other person to make all of the concessions. Not only is that not what the law provides, but more importantly, succeeding in your desire to make the other pay would not be in the best interests of you or your family.

Remember that your children will see each of your lifestyles when you separate. It’s not in their best interests to see one person’s lifestyle not change at all, while the other cannot afford to make ends meet and is living in very reduced circumstances.

Punishing the Other Is Not the Answer

As much as you may want retribution either for behavior that ended the marriage or just because he or she wanted to move on while you wanted to stay married, battling it out may not provide you with the satisfaction you think it will. You can make the other miserable or gain an advantage in terms of more property or support, but that may not help you and your family move forward.

The focus on past wrongs and letting aggrievement govern your decisions above all else tends only to prolong the process and make it much less likely, if not impossible, for the healing for you and your family to occur.

Instead, advocating for yourself and making proposals that work for you and your family is a positive step to take towards the future.

Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

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

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