They came to mediation to work out the terms of their divorce. The big question that came up for them was, “What happens to the money accumulated since their separation? Is it marital property or is it separate property?”
Bob thought that since they were separated and each paying for their own expenses, they should not have to share any of the savings made during the last 5 years. Jean felt differently, especially since she had consulted with an attorney who told her that, since they had no legal agreement and were still married, those savings were still considered marital property.
Both parties felt that what the other one wanted was “unfair,” even if there was a law that defined marital property.
The mediation process gave them the opportunity to discuss this together, which they had not done, as they hardly communicated in the years prior to their separation. The time spent discussing the issue in mediation was not wasted. Each expressed their views and tried to understand the other party’s position. In the end, they came to their own agreement: the party who had more savings, Bob in this case, agreed to share part of them (but not 50%) with Jean. Neither of them got all they wanted, but each of them came away feeling that they had made a compromise, and they felt content about the way they resolved this issue, together.
They also realized, after the fact, of course, that they should have had this discussion at the time of their separation. But what was done was done, and now they needed to move forward with their lives.
This was an example of, whereas the law might have dictated a different outcome, mediation allowed the soon-to-be divorced spouses to come to an agreement on their own which felt equitable to them.
Do you know anyone who may benefit from going to mediation? Do him/her a favor by encouraging them to call me for information about the process.
jennifer safian. divorce and family mediator divorce and family mediation upper east side of manhattan (nyc) new york, ny (212) 472-8626 email@example.com connect on