In addition to being emotionally gut wrenching, divorce is by definition financially ruinous. My brother recently lost close to 25% of his net worth to lawyers insisting they were “making sure” their clients were properly represented. In the end, the court made an equitable division that had nothing to do with all the legal posturing they paid for. The experience of my brother shaped my opinions about what was ahead for me and my now ex-wife when we decided to divorce.
I admit to being skeptical of mediation initially. My ex-wife was less skeptical but generally felt the same way. Even though we questioned if mediation could work, we agreed to meet with Heartland Family Mediators anyway. After the first meeting we both were surprised at the way Heartland helped us move forward. At the end of the process we were surprised at the cost too. We finalized our divorce for less than $4,000.
I am not saying the experience with Heartland Family Mediators was a breeze. Throughout the proceedings we were both hurt, angry, and upset to the point of feeling cheated at what we were being asked to sacrifice. But as long as a modicum of trust remained, Heartland in some miraculous way kept us focused on that remaining goodwill and helped us negotiate a settlement.
I also am not going to say I’m happy. I will probably remain resentful for some time to come. But if there is a glimmer of light in this otherwise bleak experience, it’s the fact that Heartland was able to keep us focused on fairness and out of court…and given who they had to work with, that was quite an accomplishment.