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Emotional and financial costs of divorce can be very high. When deciding on the right path for us to take when we knew our marriage needed to end, high on our list was to not expose our children to the courts. Equally high on the list was to avoid huge legal expenses that would consume family resources needed for our children. Since we agreed on priorities and most issues, we considered mediation as an option that seemed to benefit both us and our children.

Friends and colleagues shared their experiences in divorce. I learned that minimum costs could be in the thousands each even if we agreed on almost everything. I also learned that resentment and disagreements worsened as the process moved forward, complicating and lengthening the divorce. This resulted in financial benefit for the lawyers and loss to the families and children.

We had a simple split. We agreed on division of our resources, how custody arrangements would work, and how much support would be paid. I was loathe to drag my children through the court which would add anxiety and trauma to an already worrisome process. While sitting through a required video at the courthouse (made by current and former lawyers) I was told how stupid I was for not using a lawyer. Not once during that lawyer produced video did I feel I had made a bad decision in choosing mediation.

At Heartland, from the first time I spoke to Amy on the phone, I knew that she and Jim shared our views on keeping the process of divorce as civil, peaceful, and uncomplicated as possible. Amy and Jim were both cautious and thoughtful. They outlined issues we hadn’t considered and explained elements we were unaware of. They listened carefully and provided direction that was specific to our situation as well as general regarding guidelines on important issues to discuss and ways to prepare. They warned us of potential complications and guided us through a few unexpected circumstances.

Throughout the process I was always confident that our choosing mediation and Heartland Family Mediators specifically, was the right way to end our marriage in the least damaging way possible. Heartland spared us many of the financial and emotional costs of divorce which are generally seen as unavoidable – I believe our experience proves they are avoidable.

E.J.