I was recently contacted to potentially mediate a litigated divorce matter prior to trial, which is rapidly approaching. My name had been included on a list from the attorneys, along with two other mediators.
The Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner divorce is making headlines once again. The couple have just given their children a new puppy, hoping to help the kids better adjust to the inevitable changes resulting from the divorce.
I sit at the kitchen table holding hands with two children, one on each side. Seated directly across from me is their father, the man I love. As we pray giving thanks for our day, their little hands in mine, it hits me, much like a piano hitting the pavement -- I am sitting in "Her" chair.
Men, women and kids whose lives are turned upside down by unfortunate family circumstances need to be embraced and supported -- not blamed or isolated -- when separation and/or divorce happens. Pope Frances said as much.
There are those moments in our life that change us forever. Those moments that we remember so vividly. The sounds. The colors. Tiny details that become a part of us. Moments that we sometimes wish we could wash away from our brains.
That kid has some sort of Spidey sense. He just knows certain things. But see, I think we all know certain things, we feel them, our guts nudge us. I think as we age, we aren't as connected to our gut feelings as much, as society tells us what's expected, as responsibilities mount, as we mature.
Divorce. Not fun. Messy. Kids in the middle. It doesn't have to be this way. I had a "nice" divorce. This doesn't mean it didn't suck or there wasn't pain or hurt. It just means we didn't have to destroy each other or the children in the process.
I'm not saying that these are the end-all and the answers to your problems. I just feel like I know how kids of divorce think, and I know that if I were a kid, these are things that would comfort and soothe me tremendously.
Since this is the final article in this series, I am finally going to share the answer I gave the attorney colleague of mine who asked me the following question: "Any thoughts on how to make money as a family lawyer when you're not prepared to screw the other side?"
My job is to work with families, primarily divorced families, and help them overcome conflict. That conflict usually comes from the same place -- fear.
A great many of my family law attorney colleagues believe that mediation only works under such narrow circumstances, that almost no cases are appropriately suitable for it. They believe that mediation is only effective in family law cases under the following circumstances.
I'd tried to talk myself out of this many times. I knew this could go very, very badly in quite a number of ways. But I saw too much of myself in this dog. I knew what she needed. We had that understanding already.
I'm going to say it over and over and over again until my last breath -- "Mediation" that is handled as a "settlement conference," but with a "mediator" rather than a judicial officer is not mediation.
My parents wed on a September morning in 1960 in a small farming village in Greece. My mother learned the news when the busses started to arrive delivering the guests. She was just two months past her seventeenth birthday.
On July 10, 2011, Joan T. Daniels, Esq. posted the following comment on the listserv for the members of the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles Coun...