In part 2 and part 3 of our continuing blog series on avoiding common divorce mistakes, we looked at two different approaches to hiring a divorce attorney. In part 4, we took a look at the aggressive initial approach taken by one of subjects, Sharon. In part 1 of our series, we introduced you to our two New Jersey couples: Robert & Sharon and Jason & Melissa. In this installment, we’ll see how our second subject, Jason, takes a softer approach to commencing his case, and how that impacts initial developments.
Subject No. 2 – Jason:
Jason talks to Melissa about the possibility of going to mediation. Melissa is distraught to learn how serious he is about proceeding with the divorce. She convinces him to go to couples therapy before making any final decisions. They attend therapy for about 6 months, and at that point Melissa agrees with Jason that it would probably be best to proceed with the divorce after all. Their therapist helps them plan an initial separation and also helps them plan ways to talk to their children about the divorce. They agree to begin the process by going to private mediation. They interview three mediators together, choose one that they both feel comfortable with, and attend an initial session.
The mediator, Brian Calm, suggests that Jason and Melissa each hire independent consulting family law attorneys. At first Jason is afraid he has made a mistake by considering mediation. The mediator’s fee is $300 per hour. He will also have to pay an attorney, and since Melissa is unemployed, he will have to pay her attorney also. He expresses his reservations to Mr. Calm, who assures him that the attorneys will not have to attend the mediation sessions unless a problem develops. He explains that even though he is an attorney and will provide them with good legal information, he cannot represent either of them or provide either of them with personal legal advice.
Jason contacts Melinda Mild, who assures him that she can act as his consulting attorney on an hourly basis and that he will not need to pay her a retainer up front. Melissa interviews several attorneys and hires Daniel Reason. Mr. Reason’s fee is $300 per hour. Melissa and Jason go forward with the mediation.
While there is no guarantee that problems will not develop for Melissa and Jason down the line, it appears that they have gotten their divorce off to an amicable start. They are both more or less on the same page going forward, and their children are currently doing well.
Stay tuned to find out how their mediation develops.