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Divorce the Civilized Way

“When you are embroiled in a child custody or support battle, a domestic dispute, or some other family law matter, your chief concern is winning.”

I didn’t write that.  I found it on a lawyer’s Web site and I could not possibly disagree any more.  There are no winners in divorces.

Roger Fisher and William Ury write about winning in their book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.  Asking a negotiator who is winning is as inappropriate as asking who is winning your marriage, they say.  If you do, “you have already lost the more important game – the one about what kind of game to play, about the way you deal with each other and your shared and differing interests.”

Similarly, nobody wins a divorce.  If you think about it that way, you have already lost the game about how to achieve good solutions that will work and last over time.

Should someone “win,”  someone else has to lose.  What if the loser is you?  “Not likely,” you say?  Think again.  In court, you have no control over the outcome.  You’re completely at the mercy of the whims of a judge who has nothing invested in your situation.

Have kids?  Chances are you do.  Battle it out in court and what little cooperation you had is likely to be gone.  Nobody wins, least of all the kids.

Depending on the source, and there are many, somewhere around 50% of all marriages are dissolved. Fewer sources talk about the state of the rest. It is probably safe to say that some are in various stages of informal or de facto dissolution. Others are probably on the edge. That leaves a small portion of happily married couples.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of messy divorces. Some of us have experienced them first or second hand. The War of the Roses comes to mind.

Since it’s so common, how come no one figured out a better way to do it? Turns out somebody did. At the moment mediation seems to be the best option. Compared to litigated traditional divorces, mediation offers:

1. Lower cost
2. More satisfatory solutions
3. More durable solutions
4. Less stressful
5. Better for the children

Somehow, looking for the best and most aggressive divorce lawyer still persists as the default whenever the D word is brought up. One reason could be the panic reaction to the unexpected or extreme emotions. It could also be a result of well meaning family and friends trying to “protect” their friend or relative from themselves and their possibly impaired judgment.

Once the initial shock has settled, you owe it to yourself to at least consider mediation as an option.  Just call (516) 508-3219 today. Make an appointment and I’ll tell you all about it.  The consultation will cost you nothing.

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