Giving up one’s position on a certain issue is often difficult with many factors weighing in and approaching a divorce mediation session in the context of “not fair” is daunting.
- First, there is something that is personally central and important about the logical fairness of that position.
- Second, we all test the logic and fairness of our position over and over in our heads cementing our fairness points in our mind
- Third, there are emotional reasons we hold on to our position. These may or may not be known to us
When preparing for mediation, we probably need to take a closer look at our position; how do we envision the outcome? What are the most important points we need to get across? How does our position differ from the other person and how does our position impact him or her? Where can we give and take? And, what is the “payoff” for sticking to our guns?
In divorce mediation, there are some typical concerns for both parties;
“Am I going to be able to live comfortably going forward”
“Will I lose control over parenting my children”
“Is it fair that I have to pay out this much money over such a long time”
“I entered into this marriage with the clear understanding that my job would be mother and homemaker, why do I have to go to work now?”
Because Georgia is a no fault state, one person can file for and be awarded a divorce without substantial grounds for divorce. * See Ga code Title 19 Domestic Relations, Chapter 5 Divorce; Grounds for Total Divorce 19-5-3 This legally changes “fair”.
How, then, can we reconcile in our own minds the situation we face that feels so unfair?
Let’s take a look at the first premise of our position. How does the outcome one desires fit into the overall fairness of the divorce, and how do the present circumstances interfere with that premise? Remember, some promises made 5, 10 or 20 years ago are now off the table. The one thing that is never off the table is the combined obligation of supporting the children.
Secondly, let’s do some out-of-the box thinking. We have a new playing field and new rules. With a divorce, we have two households instead of one and limited time and income to support them. How can both households be both solvent and emotionally healthy? Up to this point, a person may have been protecting his/her own future by digging into a position that he/she thinks is fair and will provide what he/she has been accustomed to. This may be to the detriment of the spouses’ futures. Mediation is an opportunity to come together and look at the overall situation and plan something “fair” to both parties. The law will help with this. There are guidelines for spousal support, division of property and child support.
And lastly, a person may ask, “What are the emotional factors that keep me stuck on what is fair for me? In other words, what do I gain from feeling the way I do?” In order to resolve this one for ourselves, we must do some much deeper introspective thinking. There are no guidelines for the feelings of being alone, being single again or having one’s life turned upside down. A good therapist can help a person work through all these issues and teach him/her how to address this with grace.