Since I am a transplant from New York myself, I couldn’t help but be amused when I read this article filled chock full of analogies. While comparing divorce to a NYC taxi ride is in itself brilliant, the article is also filled with valuable information that will be helpful to anyone you know who is considering divorce. Pass this information along, it may brighten the spirit of a friend or family member as they embark down a path many like them have taken. The good new is that the journey of divorce, while difficult, can have a healthy conclusion for you and your family. At Advanced Mediation Solutions we offer divorcing couples in New Jersey and Pennsylvania a complimentary 30 minute consultation to learn more about the Mediation process. Call us at 856.669.7172.
Divorce Mediation as a NYC Taxi?
Posted on January 2, 2012 by Skinner
Imagine that the road to divorce is like getting from one side of New York City (married) to the other side of New York City (divorced). You’re not sure how to get there, so you need some help from someone who does.
Most people just go hire an attorney. This is effective, but it might be a bit like hiring a Sherman Tank and a contingent of marines to guide your way. You would get from one side of the city (married) to the other (divorced). Along the way, it would be very expensive, it might require a lot of armor that you don’t really need, and there might be some collateral damage. Indeed, the marines or the driver of the tank might say and do some things, or take some actions, that you didn’t really want them to take. But you would live with it, pay the price, and you would end up divorced.
You’ve heard the stories about litigated divorce. It sounds great going into it. It’s very reassuring for someone to tell you that you can just climb in the tank and they’ll take care of you. What they don’t tell you up front is the full cost and the collateral damage. Not many people are thrilled with their litigated divorce process (just ask a few).
Well, now there’s an alternative. Maybe you could just take a taxi.
That is, hire a divorce mediator to guide the way. A taxi driver knows the back roads, the obstacles, how to avoid traffic jams. You will still get from one side of the city (married) to the other (divorced), but with a lot less cost, less collateral damage, and with matters more in your own control. If the two of you get along well enough, you might even be able to share a taxi.
The taxi is not the right choice for everyone. No doubt about it, if the “other side” is adversarial – if your soon-to-be ex wants to go to battle with you and fight against you – then you will need that tank (the protection and guidance of a formalized litigation process). And sometimes you will also need the marines as well (forensic accountants, guardians ad litem, court reporters, paralegals, private detectives, etc.).
But what if the “other side” is not interested in fighting against you? What if both of you want to get to the same place?
If you encounter a roadblock, perhaps the two of you could go together to hire someone to address that roadblock (a neutral forensic accountant, a neutral child psychologist, a neutral appraiser, etc.). With a mediator acting as your guide, the “taxi ride” to divorce is streamlined and cost effective. How will you know if you’re getting a fair deal? Well, if you have any doubts at all, you hire appropriate professionals to help you figure that out.
Divorce mediation is not for everyone, however. It requires that both parties (1) be committed to principles of fairness, (2) voluntarily produce full financial disclosure, (3) agree to on fair processes that will be used to help make decisions. Couples commonly agree to utilize outside experts such as attorneys, accountants, counselors, if that expertise is needed, but really what distinguishes mediation is that you make these types of key decisions. Not a judge, not your lawyer, not your mediator. The mediator’s goal is to empower you, as a divorcing couple, to make the best decisions for your family, yourselves. Just because you may have decided to divorce, doesn’t mean you have to become enemies.
In return, the non-adversarial process can save tens of thousands of dollars, produce a fair divorce agreement, and enable parties to maintain dignity, control, and privacy in their personal family decisions.