Like Watching a Train Wreck in Slow Motion
I think that many divorce clients feel like they're watching a train wreck in slow motion while going through divorce litigation. It can be a painfully difficult experience. First is the service of the summons and complaint. No matter how dysfunctional a marriage has become, actually having a constable show up at your home or place of work and handing you a summons and complaint for divorce can be a remarkably awful experience.
After that may follow many months of document production, depositions, argument and court appearances. For some, this process is necessary. But for many, mediation is a better choice. And yet many continue to choose litigation over mediation. I can't help but wonder why.
Some believe that the emotional and physiological drive toward flight or fight (or both) favors litigation. Others think that the pain or rejection and the need for revenge drive the need to litigate. Theories abound and there is evidence to support such theories. Of course, the reasons that people choose litigation over mediation in the context of divorce are probably as varied as the participants themselves.
I was thinking this issue over recently when the words of a colleague came to mind. In explaining why he decided to devote his career to mediation he explained that he sought a way to deliver "peaceful divorce" to people. His name is Attorney John Fiske.
While pondering the concept of "peaceful divorce" I thought of the concept of a peaceful death. I don't mean to be morbid, but the analogy works in many ways. In fact, divorce can be called the death of marriage. Emotionally, a divorce can be as difficult, or even more difficult, to deal with than a death.
Doubtless most of us, if given the opportunity, would choose a peaceful transition at the end of life over a violent end. But divorcing couples often choose the arduous path of litigation when their case would be a good candidate for mediation - a peaceful divorce. They choose the train wreck in slow motion.
If you would like to know more about divorce mediation, please feel free to contact me for a consultation at 978-877-5159.
John G. DiPiano