Marcel Proust said "The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
Many couples facing the reality of divorce have recent memories of months or even years of arguments, breaches of trust, and rude behavior. When they look at their spouse at the beginning of a divorce, they often become angry and vindictive, demanding retribution. Often, divorce lawyers recognize this attitude and nourish it for their purposes. Then, by reinforcing the anger and vindictiveness, they increase the client's bitterness and anger. The litigation process then becomes expensive and out of control.
However, some divorcing people seek therapy to deal with the emotions allowing them to becoming more rational in their understanding and view of the divorce and negotiations. Lawyers can reverse the benefit of counseling by feeding the anger. Custody negotiations and parenting plans should be based upon the children's best interests and not built on punishing the other parent. A division of the assets and debts, if it cannot be negotiated, will be decided by a judge who uses statutory factors that do not include your anger. Emotions should not drive negotiations as the travel becomes uncontrollable and the long term effects cannot be changed.
Divorce Mediation, a form of alternate dispute resolution, allows a person to explain his/her fears and wants for the future in a safe environment. Emotions are addressed by allowing the parties a confidential and protected space to explain their anger once and for all. Then, a resolution, based upon fairness and reasonableness, addressing each person's needs and wants, is sought by the parties. Ask your lawyer if she would support your decision to use mediation by helping you understand the issues of custody, dividing assets and support. Ask why your lawyer might not support it. Ask your lawyer if you should use someone like Steven Hirsch, a lawyer, who has over 18 years of mediation experience and still practices in the Family Court to keep up with the trends in Family Law.
This all begins with "having new eyes" and releasing the anger and resentment that often comes naturally before and during the actual split up. Lawyers and mediators are not trained therapists. Some people find the combination of mediation with help from therapists in "having new eyes" so beneficial that they can begin their voyage of discovery to a new life.