The Case for Mediation
By Chris DiMaggio
Prior to the 1960’s, married couples were stabilized through economic downturns, by pooling resources and by cooperating with each other during tough times. The 60’s, began our noticeable trek toward the establishment of our “throw- away society” mentality. Sadly, along with toasters lasting 5 years, the breakdown of the American family made that same journey. Americans have accepted living in a “Culture of Divorce” as easily as we have accepted planned obsolescence. When one parent left the marital home and the other went to work…who’s watching the kids? Our divorce rate has increased dramatically, beyond tripling the rate of any other country. When divorce is imminent we must at least try our best, to mediate our own solutions out of court to keep as sane and balanced a home environment as possible for our kids.
When we gave away our loved ones through divorce, our mothers to jobs and our fathers as only payers, by definition, we reduced the institution of family to an unsound business arrangement. Ordinarily a fulfilling growth environment for our children has been marginalized. All the empirical studies prove kids do better with their biological parents present in the same household, as opposed to absent parents sometimes forced to concentrate on generating income. By accepting this cultural faux pas, we’ve become the only society with more step parents for its children that their own two biological parents. There is hardly an adult parent that goes unscathed from their own children’s social dysfunction where single parenting exists stemming from a divorce.
The hope for a successful post-divorced family, is to keep the parents together though separated. To do this we must accept a joint custody and equal parenting home for the children even without a joint custody law in NY State, our state’s political shame. In my 12 years as a divorce mediator, divorcing parents to be, ask for and receive joint custody 98% of the time. There is no-litigation with those couples who create their own agreement that works for their children they know best. Creation begets ownership. My job as a divorce mediator is to assist the couple to create a glide path for the family to function normally post-divorce. In mediation, you are not paying for fighting in court. You might argue during mediation, but soon recognize the process is inexpensive, peaceful, cooperative and productive, no matter how angry a couple might get. Why pay to fight, where there will be no victory lap? Peaceful mediation is the answer.
“Divorce is about Relationships…
and relationships cannot be adjudicated!”
Chris DiMaggio, FIT Mediation Services, Huntington, NY 631-291-2434