One of the positives of not being able to go into the courthouse is couples are more open to resolving their issues in mediation. Since most of the work in mediation and collaborative divorces occur outside of the courthouse, divorces can occur even if courts are closed or operating at reduced capacity. Recently, I had a couple mediate their divorce in a just a few sessions and we were able to come up with an agreement that addressed all of their issues.
The biggest challenge was coming up with a parenting plan that was going to make sense while they worked from home, as well as when they return to their respective offices. Both parents expressed a desire to spend as much time with their child as possible, while also wanting to preserve the relationship that their child had with the other parent. It was also very important that they were able to co-parent with one another.
During mediation sessions, we talked about each of their goals and interests and focused on how we could achieve each of their goals. By looking at goals instead of positions, the couple was able to hear what the other was saying and was able to be heard. The couple were actually able to communicate with one another about how they were going to work together to care for their child even though they would be living apart.
In just three two-hour sessions that took place within a month, we were not only able to come up with a comprehensive parenting plan but we were also able to address alimony, the house, retirement accounts, cars, health insurance and other items that needed to be settled for their divorce. The couple were able to then take this agreement to their respective lawyers to finalize their divorce. They are now in the process of finalizing their divorce, where if they went through a court divorce they would likely just be getting started.
Even during a pandemic, spouses can get divorced in a more-timely fashion. Mediation offers a private, more economical way to divorce that is not dependent on the courthouses being open.