Will the mediation process teach us new ways to relate to each other?
Yes. Many couples in divorce mediation have said that if they had known what they learned about conflict resolution in their divorce mediation while they were married, they would not have needed to get divorced. As the process of Mediation to Save and Stay Married progress, the couple learns to use new techniques to identify and address conflict in their marriage and brainstorm options for resolving them. The couple will create options for dealing with conflict not only in their marriage but also in their day to day life.
Does Mediating to Stay Married result in a written agreement?
It is your choice if you wish to put your agreement in writing. Some couples would like a written understanding (Memorandum of Understanding) of what they have agreed to in Mediation to Stay Married. This can be a template for them while going forward in their marriage. Some couples feel that the verbal understanding is enough and that a written agreement would be too intrusive. There is also the option of a full-blown agreement, like a prenuptial agreement, reviewed by separate attorneys for each spouse.
What types of issues can be dealt with in Mediation to Save and Stay Married?
Many marriages (especially longer marriages) fail due to financial issues and disputes on how money is being spent or utilised. Issues of contribution (monetary and otherwise) have a huge impact on the viability and happiness of marriages. A job loss, bankruptcy, inheritance, expenditure patterns can make a couple distrustful of each other, placing the marriage at risk. Mediation to Stay Married can also be used to heal a marriage in the case of infidelity and problems with children. Communication patterns, moods, emotions, Intimacy are all issues which are discussed and can be resolved through mediation.
Is it sometimes helpful for a married couple in trouble to get information about divorce?
Think positive. The grass is not greener somewhere else. It may just be a different shade of green. To the extent that some people are completely unrealistic about divorce and what life after a divorce is like, yes, it may be beneficial to become educated about what divorce entails and what life is like after the divorce. I will be first to admit that some marriages must end and they are not worth saving. Where there is physical or emotional abuse in the home divorce is frequently warranted. Drug, alcohol abuse and gambling additions may make divorce (unfortunately) unavoidable.
The Key points on divorce: Divorce is expensive. Most people’s standard of living is negatively affected when they divorce. Divorce is tough emotionally. Most parents can’t resist the temptation of bad-mouthing the other parent or putting their children in the middle during and after a divorce. Your friends and family will not automatically take “your side” when you get divorced. Many people will have access to all your financial information and spending habits when you divorce. The grass will not be greener with another spouse. You will still have to work on your new marriage.
Unhappy marriage vs happy kids? Why make a choice?
Keep in mind that people can change. You are not the same you were ten years ago. In the majority of cases, it is nearly always better for everyone in the family if parents can fix their marital problems and stay together. On average, children of married parents are physically and mentally healthier, better educated and enjoy more career and marital success. Divorce causes a child’s standard of living to be reduced because children of divorce do not have the time, attention, social and financial resources of two parents and most often and unfortunate, two sets of grandparents. Father/Child (and sometimes Mother/ Child) relationships frequently diminish over time where the father (or mother) does not share custody. Children in stepfamilies and single-parent families are more likely to experiment with cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Children of divorce are nearly twice as likely to engage in sex at an early age.
According to a poll conducted by marriage researcher Linda Waite, 86% of couples who reported their marriage as “unhappy”, later reported an improvement in their marriages with three-fifths reporting five years later that their marriages were “quite happy” or “very happy”. She reports that permanent marital unhappiness is surprisingly rare among the couples who stick it out.
Iris Krasnow wrote a book called Surrendering to Marriage: Husbands, Wives and Other Perfections. After dozens of interviews of divorced and remarried couples, the author concludes that although life is different in second marriages, the challenges of stepchildren, the ghosts of ex-spouses do not necessarily mean life is better. The author’s conclusion: “You might as well love the one you’re with. What you often get with someone you believe to be smarter and sexier are even bigger problems than the ones you left behind. This is from dealing with stepchildren, exp-spouses, new girlfriends, boyfriends or new marriages and their new stepchildren, and the realisation that the same issues are surfacing again and again, because you took your imperfect self with you, and from that, there is no escape.”
By Angela Ioana Green