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Moving Forward - Part II

November 1, 2017  | 
Moving Forward - Part II by Clare Piro

{4:12 minutes to read} As I described in Part I of this post, it’s not unusual to feel completely overwhelmed upon hearing that your spouse wants a divorce. You think the last thing you are capable of doing is making good decisions about your children and your finances. But then you keep getting pushed by your spouse to start the divorce ASAP.

You can tell your spouse that you need some time to process everything and get the support that you may need to move forward. Then, be reasonable in providing a time frame for when you will start, and stick to it.

At that point, I believe that suggesting mediation can help, even if you feel blind-sided and mired in negative emotions. Here are the reasons why:

It is a speedier process.

Prolonging the process of separation probably will not make you feel better and certainly won’t help you to move forward. Provided you both do the required work to draft budgets, gather all financial information and give consideration to your interests and proposals for settlement, you are likely to reach resolution sooner in mediation than negotiating through attorneys, and certainly sooner than if you went to court.

You work with your spouse in a collaborative fashion.

Even though you are angry, fearful about what will happen to you and your children, and probably still blame your spouse for wanting to end the marriage, he or she is not the enemy. This person is still someone you deeply cared for and who likely wants the best for you even though they no longer want to live with you. You have worked together in the past, and while this obviously will be a more painful collaboration, you can surely do it again to achieve a settlement that works for both of you.

You look to the future in terms of making proposals rather than the past to assess blame.

Being mired in the “blame game” is not going to help achieve a settlement. It will only prolong the process and make it unnecessarily hurtful. Instead, focus on how to change something about the past that makes you angry, and propose something that can be done differently in the future that is more in line with your interests.

You can work with other professionals in the process.

If you feel incapable of making good decisions or are afraid to work through the difficult emotions you feel, in the mediation process, you can work with other professionals:

  • You can meet with an attorney before starting mediation, in between meetings, and/or to review the separation agreement.
  • If you need help understanding financial details, you can work with a financial professional, either as an advocate or a neutral party.
  • You can work with a mental health professional if you need someone to act as a coach to get you through a meeting with your spouse.
  • You can work with a child specialist to help address concerns about a parenting plan. 

With the consent of your spouse, these professionals can also attend the mediation session(s).

It will still be difficult, but I believe that mediation is more likely to provide a process that helps you move forward more quickly and an outcome that is in the best interests of both of you.

Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

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

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