Sarah and Mark had three kids – all under the age of 11. Despite counseling, their 16-year relationship had deteriorated over the years. Neither parent wanted to want to expose the children to the frequent arguing, so they agreed it was time to move on.
When she first called us, Sarah explained she and Mark were interested in learning more about mediation and asked to schedule a mediation consultation. They couple arrived at our office the following week, looking a little nervous as most people do at their first visit.
Mark and Sarah talked about how they both wanted a good parenting relationship with the other. Their parenting plan would need to accommodate Sarah's two overnight shifts at the hospital where she worked as physician in the ER and Mark's business travel several nights per month.
Spending money they could otherwise have for retirement or college tuition for the children on a divorce did not make sense to either of them, and they liked the privacy of the mediation process.
Sarah and Mark agreed that one of the fixed-fee mediation plans made sense for them, and were surprised that the total mediation fee was less then just the initial retainer for one of them if they hired attorneys.
About three and a half months later, Mark and Sarah finished their mediation. All that remained was for Mark and Sarah was to file the paperwork at the court and attend a brief uncontested divorce hearing lasting about 15 minutes.
Perhaps most importantly, Sarah and Mark learned to listen more to each other, and improved their ability to solve problems cooperatively. After the divorce, they were supporting each other as parents, communicating well, and the children were doing just fine after a month or so of adjusting to spending time at both Mom's house and Dad's house.