I have been practicing long enough to have unfortunately worked with some clients who are children of past clients. The good news is that these new clients have chosen Divorce Mediation rather than the contested litigation their parents had to endure. Thirty years ago, Mediation was just beginning to catch on, so it was not as available to their parents.
Having been impacted (usually negatively) by their parents’ litigated divorces, however, and usually with encouragement from their parents, most of today’s second-generation clients are opting to resolve their divorce through Mediation or, in some cases, Collaborative Practice—another dispute resolution process not available a generation ago.
Some of my younger clients have described the difficult scenarios they experienced as children during and after their parents’ divorces. I have heard tales of parents who failed to pay any child support or did not care how much their actions hurt their children. I have seen the devastation that was caused when neither spouse was able to talk civilly to the other for years, with the children paying the price for the complete dysfunctionality of the family unit.
In contrast, Mediation and Collaborative Practice give parties the ability to negotiate the outcome that best serves the needs of their family. The dispute resolution skills we model for our clients, such as learning how to problem-solve at an impasse, or explore underlying interests, or discuss priorities, become the basis for their ongoing successful co-parenting. Instead of being mired in the Court process and subject to the orders of a stranger, today’s clients are active participants and are able to prioritize the needs of their family.
While today’s Divorce Mediators cannot guarantee there will not be another generation of divorce, we can minimize the damage to each generation that is affected. Whether you are the first in your family to divorce or you find yourself wanting to approach things differently than your parents did, contact me for more information.