Just the other day I was talking to a prospective client on the phone and she said the following words, “I still love him, I just don’t want to be married to him any more”.
There it is again. I hear those words, or variations of those words, over and over.
In California, the almost exclusive “grounds for divorce” are that irreconcilable differences have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. It’s important to think about those words –irreconcilable differences. They mean just what they say. It’s not good, or bad, it’s just differences. That’s what happens when people grow and change. Over time differences arise between them. As to whether or not those differences rise to the level of “irreconcilable” is up to the individuals involved.
It’s not easy being in a committed relationship. People are entitled to their differences. It is unfair for one party to try and impose their will upon the other party. We are all free to be the person we are and to grow into the person we choose to be, without impediment.
Divorce does not have to mean that all that has been shared over your years together is forgotten, or without great meaning. With many divorcing couples there is still an abiding affection between them. They want their former spouse to have a wonderful life and genuinely wish them happiness. They simply no longer wish to be married. That’s just the way things are sometimes in some relationships. A partner’s changing should be accepted and not the object of rancor, derision or scorn.
Remarkably, or maybe not so remarkably, many couples come to a decision to divorce together. They both feel that their partner is somebody they care a great deal for, but they perceive their best chance of future happiness as living separately.
For couples such as this, the divorce mediation process is extremely streamlined and comfortable. Where some couples might be negotiating aggressively for a “better deal” for themselves couples who are in touch with their good feelings for one another are more likely to be unconcerned with details and working purposefully towards making certain that their soon-to-be former partner has a fair outcome.
The divorce mediation process is extremely effective. It works 98% of the time for couples, irrespective of the amount of conflict or the hotness with which issues are contested. However, in those cases where the divorcing couple is still in touch with their affection for one another the process is really quite painless and very expeditious. Such a mediation is the orderly organization of the marital estate, a fair division of that estate and a very friendly negotiation on any issues of support.
What many people find to be surprising is that not only is a large percentage of divorce mediation quite friendly, but many mediations that start rather quarrelsome in a short period of time end up being a very cooperative and painless experience. From my observations I would submit that the reason for this phenomenon is that almost all couples, once they get past the awakening to the fact that irreconcilable differences have arisen in their marriage, still have fundamental good feelings for one another and wish to part on the best terms possible.
David D. Stein has been an attorney for 20 years and the founder of Liaise® Divorce Solutions. He is a trained best divorce mediator, dispute resolution specialist and lecturer on non-violent conflict management techniques and tools.