Simplifying Divorce/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on June 9, 2016

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HuffPo recently had an article on ” 8 Ways to Simplify Your Divorce”. The ideas presented were worthwhile but not one idea dealt with divorce mediation. A surprise? Not really. The article’s ideas were collected from various divorce attorneys. Attorneys do not necessarily view mediation as an adjunct to the work they do. Attorneys are trained to litigate and litigation does not perfectly dovetail with trying to find solutions and attain a Win-Win agreement.

A number of years ago, as part of a judge’s experimental program, I was invited to a Courtroom in Central New Jersey to address 50-60 people who had started the divorce process. I had a captive audience and approximately 10 minutes to discuss how mediation might work in lessening the stress of the divorces that been initiated by the parties in that courtroom. When I finished my presentation, the Judge invited interested parties to talk with me about mediation. How many people came to talk with me? If you guessed “zero”, you guessed correctly. Many attorneys were present in that Courtroom but why would even one recommend mediation when litigation provided the attorney with an opportunity to utilize their lawyer-like skills and charge their clients for the time invested in said litigation trail? Many attorneys are not enamored with the mediation model. Some even question if that is what real lawyers should be doing. In my way of thinking, mediation virtually always makes sense. It is a decent and civil approach to attain dispute resolution. And it is the guaranteed path to successfully attain Win-Win in your contested manner. “Mediate don’t litigate” is the one piece of good advice that is missing in the HuffPo article.  If you are getting divorce, do not lose sight of this most important piece of advice.

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