Before I became a mediator, I was a divorce litigation attorney for 12 years. My nickname was "Jaws." Litigation was fun--for me, the lawyer--but probably not so much for the clients who were paying a king's ransom for a lot of stuff they insisted that needed to be done which I knew was counter-productive. If I said that at the outset of the case, I'd be accused of being on the other spouse's side, yet after I followed the client's instructions of "damn the torpedos " after the fact I'd be accused of churning the case to jack up the bill. So 22 years later, I'm a full time mediator and as a result have the freedom to tell you how divorce litigation clients screw themselves and waste their money. Think I'm kidding? I was once fired by a client because I handed her husband a Kleenex after I made him cry at a deposition. Seriously.
Diana Mercer is the co-author of Making Divorce Work: 8 Essential Keys to Resolving Conflict and Rebuilding Your Life (Penguin 2010), and Your Divorce Advisor (Simon & Schuster 2001) and a mediator at Peace Talks Mediation Services, Inc.