In our experience, fairness is among one of the greatest concerns of divorcing couples. It ranks first with couples without children and second only to “doing what is best for our children” if there are children.
Fairness can have an elusive meaning. Rarely is it synonymous with “equal”. Further, it can be complicated if feelings remain between the parties. It is common for us to hear, “I don’t want to hurt my ex”. In mediation, couples determine themselves what is “fair”. At Heartland Family Mediators we attempt to assist couples in understanding the impact of the divorce, the aftermath. This empowers them to define “fair” in their unique way. This is a crucial matter. Leaving the matter to litigation can lead to hurtful results which may or may not lead to achieving the desired result.
Generally, when asked to decide, a judge considers the division of assets in a way that equitably divides them. The result of such a division may or may not be “fair” depending on your point of view. More important, leaving that decision to a court forfeits the opportunity a couple has to craft what is fair for their unique situation. It has been said that people tend to support that which they help create. It makes sense that couples are more likely to follow their own agreement versus an order imposed by a court.
With only a few exceptions, couples may agree to do whatever they want in a mediation. In mediation, the couple is in control. We have witnessed extraordinary acts of courage, heroism and generosity when parents are aligned in their desire to do right by their children. If mom and dad will agree on one thing, they will agree on anything, if that one thing is how they want their children to look when they are 25 years old emotionally, spiritually and in their capacity to have fulfilling relationships with others. If parents of children agree on that one thing, all we do as mediators is align financial resources to meet that end.
There always is a risk in mediation if you are not represented by an attorney. If you have concerns about not being represented, mediation without an attorney may not be the right path for you. If that is not an issue, ultimately what matters in defining fairness is the way you as a couple agree on your unique meaning of the term. At Heartland Family Mediators our mediation professionals are skilled at bringing couples together on this important issue. Agreement on what is fair is the cornerstone of all that follows. It can make concern, worry and fear more manageable as you heroically work together for the good of both your children and yourselves, if you have children and for the good of yourselves if you do not.