I have to confess that I cringe when I leaf through a newspaper or surf the World Wide Web and come across ads that read “divorce for men only”, “divorce lawyers for men”, or, “men, don’t get cheated in your divorce”. Likewise, I have to shake my head when I see allegedly professional divorce counselors, or so-called “family law lawyers”, offering their services “for women only”. The only thing that you can be assured of if you do business with these types of service providers is that they will only serve to further polarize your situation and increase their fees.
The sensible person would run, not walk, run, away from anyone offering a service with this kind of label.
Undeniably divorce is a very difficult situation. If the family had been a single wage earner situation, then that person may very well feel as if they are being unfairly targeted and seen as solely responsible for the future financial security of the family. Such a feeling is isolating and alienating. This is true whether that sole wage earner is a man or a woman.
There are many studies supporting the proposition that divorce is one of the most agonizing events a person can endure. It is right up there with death and serious illness in its’ negative impact on one’s mental, and physical well-being. This is equally true for men and women.
For the purposes of this article, let us agree that a divorce is, in many ways, a disaster. As in any other disaster, a crucial survival trait is maintaining a “positive mental attitude”. The right attitude can mean the difference between life and death if you are caught in a snowstorm, earthquake or shipwreck. It also makes all the difference when going through a divorce.
You are not embracing a positive mental attitude to think of the divorce as “me versus my spouse”. Indeed, such an attitude is a guarantee of a difficult, expensive experience.
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The divorce mediators at Liaise can help to create a divorce dynamic where it is much easier to adopt a positive mental attitude. A proper mental attitude in a divorce situation is, “we got into this together, we’ll get out of this together and, hopefully, we will come to the most mutually favorable terms possible”. It is immature to think that there is such a thing as a “winner” in a divorce. What is winning? Does it mean that you end up with everything and your spouse is plunged into poverty? Does that definition strike you as intelligent or becoming of a rational person? Certainly not. It is much better to work together towards a resolution that enables both parties to carry on their lives with the least amount of disruption and displacement possible.
Psychologists, and experienced, humane family law lawyers agree; divorce is difficult for men, divorce is difficult for women, divorce is difficult for families. The way to assure that your divorce is as pain-free as possible is to use professional mediation and engage in a supported conversation designed to guide you towards the most equitable resolution possible.
David D. Stein has been an attorney for over 20 years and is the founder of Liaise® Divorce Solutions. He is a trained divorce mediator, dispute resolution specialist and lecturer on non-violent conflict management techniques and tools.