Knowledge Base

Mediated Divorces: Our clients
    speak out about their experience


December 1, 2006
Written by Staff at The Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution

After Mediation: Our clients speak out about their experience

At the conclusion of mediation, we ask our clients for written feedback on the mediation process. Interestingly, their responses are often much more expansive. They share their personal feelings, their philosophy on life after the dissolution of the marriage, and the status of their family relationships. Below are a few of their comments.

Life is too short to harbor hate, resentment or/and ill-will toward the person who has shared my life for so long. Even if one side had decided to end the marriage for whatever reason, looking forward and planning for the future was the only sensible way to go. As parents, both of us had the children’s best interest in mind, we did everything in our power to make the difficult transition as comfortable as possible for them. Anger and disagreement would not have helped in the process. It is, I think, important to keep looking at the ‘big picture’ and use common sense. Separately, we now live different lives, but see each other everyday for children’s schedule purposes and get along well.

Divorce is never a good thing – for most. Mediation was trying, and I can’t say that my ex and I are ‘getting along.’ However, I am glad for the contract we made with Lynne’s help. This survey arrived in my mailbox the day after my divorce hearing in court. After lingering over the agreement for what seemed to be forever, she (the judge) complimented us on having such well thought-out terms! Thank you all at CMDR!

In reality, it was a combination of the place Lynne was able to ‘deliver us’ – that is, her ability to give us a long-term basis for negotiating, that makes the agreement work. The most challenging part of the mediation process was getting through the initial hurt and anger. Lynne’s subtle and inspired comprehension of these (I’m sure) typical emotions, and her skill at refocusing us was the winning combination. I can’t imagine a more satisfying or better way to have worked out our issues – both personal and financial.

We had our day in court last week, the whole thing was done in 10 minutes. The agreement was so thorough, that the judge had only two questions. Lynne, thank you so much for being so thorough. It was extremely helpful to go to court with a complete agreement. Definite mixed feelings that day, it’s strange to finally have it done but at the same time it’s a relief.

It was very difficult to begin the mediation process because emotions were still very much at play. Still some of the ‘I’m right – you’re not’ – kind of thing. As the process continued, it became clear that this kind of thinking was not only non-productive, it was costly as well. This could be the most valuable part of the experience for myself (and maybe my ex) that we began to implement the art of compromise – give & take. I think that these new skills have served us well in our new roles / lifestyles. I don’t believe we would have this advantage without the help of a good mediator.

Things worked out very well, although we haven’t yet gone to court. Her lawyer isn’t the fastest in the world. We still talk often, sometimes it’s strained, because even if the marriage is over, there still is love between us. The mediation process was very good, and I highly recommend it over dueling lawyers.

We are both very proud of the final document and our roles in coming to an agreement that feels fair and meets both our needs. Our goal was to be able to be parents & grandparents together and we just had our first grandchild & have been able to enjoy wonderful family times together.

Mediation pushed us both to focus on our own practical, day-to-day needs, and to think through what we wanted for our new, separate lives. This helped foster a way of thinking, beyond the basic topics of divorce – finances and parenting and that carried over into my general attitude toward the future. You continuously diffused or contained potentially messy emotional stuff, kept the past in the past, and helped me feel safe enough to say what I wanted, which has always been a problem for me. By using the mediation process instead of getting into a contentious legal fight, I was able to use my time and energy to mourn and heal. I’m working to clarify my priorities and understand what has and does not have value for me. Even more importantly, because the divorce, though painful, was not bitter, it allowed me to look at what went wrong in our marriage and to begin to learn and grow from it.

I found the mediation process fair, helpful, and even (dare I say this?) pastoral. Speaking for myself, I think this was the best decision we made in this painful process. I think my ex agrees. Thank you for your professional and caring approach.

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