“Just let the courts decide,” she said in her frustration and anger. I winced in that mediation and every time I hear someone surrender their decisions to the courts. She had no knowledge or experience to back up what she was saying. She made some big assumptions that the courts would rule in her favor. She had no idea what the judge would say or determine for the rest of her life. This ignorance is not bliss. The courts are there to work out the irreconcilable differences. It behooves anyone going through a divorce to work out their differences, realizing that surrendering part of their property and assets may be worth it in the long run.
Peter Letzmann, someone I often co-mediate with, explains it this way: “You won’t get everything you want, but you can get something you can live with.” You will do a better job working out the division than someone who doesn’t know you or understand your history.
The reason I became a mediator was after listening to a participant in my dovorce recovery group say, “I’m at $129,000 for legal fees and I’m not done yet.” It was heartbreaking. Fighting is very expensive and rarely worth it (unless you are fighting for the children’s safety, then it is priceless).
Mediation empowers the people whose life is up for determination to determine it themselves. If you are hesitant in making legal decisions, you can go through mediation with your attorney. The responsibility is still upon the participants to come to an agreement that will affect the rest of their lives and their children’s lives.
Mediation is a no-pressure environment where you can think about, sort out, and inquire about your options. The goal is to create a document called an Agreement, which establishes the division of assets, debts, parenting time, retirement, etc. This Agreement is legally binding, so care and counsel should be used when you make your decisions.
After the mediation participants are finished signing the Agreement, there is a tremendous sigh of relief that the most difficult legal aspect of the divorce is over. The financial, mental, and spiritual stress can be relieved to a great degree by this Agreement. The participants know the outcome; it has been within their control. The judges and legal fees are minimized so the people can begin to heal and move forward into their new lives.
Mediation is not adversarial; it is cooperative. Mediation gives you much more opportunity to work together. Even though difficult, mediation is simply more peaceful. And God loves peace. He longs for us to live in peace with each other. While divorce is anything but peaceful, mediation is one way to get to peace faster. There are 249 references to peace in the NIV version of Scriptures. A few of them are listed here. Challenge yourself to commit one to memory this week and be at peace.
- 1 Corinthians 7:15—“God has called us to live in peace.”
- Matthew 5:9—“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
- Psalm 34:14—“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
- 2 Peter 3:14—“Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”
- Jude 2—“Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”
- James 3:18—“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
- Philippians 4:7—“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- John 14:27—“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
- Malachi 2:6—“He walked with me in peace and uprightness.”
- Job 22:21—“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.”
- Proverbs 14:30—“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
You must know where “here” is before you can reach the “there” God has in store for you. Download your free self assessment now: http://davidccook.org/suddenly-single/