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If Your Marriage is Ending

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Avoid a Costly Court Battle

A Decision Based on Emotions Can Hurt Everyone!

A Decision Based on Emotions Can Hurt Everyone!

A Decision Based on Emotions Can Hurt Everyone! by Daniel R. Burns

{2:54 minutes to read} I recently met with a couple who wanted to hear about my divorce mediation services. During the meeting Maria*, the wife, related how she had decided a year earlier that the marriage was over and had left the house.

Her husband, Howard, expressed that he was not in favor of a divorce and wanted Maria to return home. However, she was committed to ending the marriage and suggested that they mediate the terms of the divorce rather than hire separate attorneys and litigate the matter.

Howard asked me to describe the services I offered. I explained that I first required full financial disclosure from each party. I would then work with them to develop an agreement that both felt met their needs.

In response, Howard stated that he would never agree to provide full financial disclosure since he had no intention of “giving her” any of the assets he had acquired during their marriage. I then informed them that I would not be able or willing to help unless they both agreed to make full disclosure. If he changed his mind, I asked that he let me know, and I would be happy to work with them.

About two months after this meeting, my office received an email from Maria informing us that Howard had served her with divorce papers and that they would not be using my services.

My first thought on hearing this was how foolish Howard was being:

  • Did he really think that Maria’s lawyer wouldn’t require full financial disclosure?
  • Did he think he was going to “do better” by having his own lawyer?
  • Did he think that spending tens of thousands of dollars on a legal battle would provide a better result than mediating the terms for a fraction of the cost?

Then it dawned on me. It was not about full disclosure. It was not about doing better. It was not even about money. It was his way of lashing out at Maria, who had hurt him by wanting to end the marriage.

I just hope he soon realizes that trying to hurt his former wife is going to hurt their children and grandchildren as much as it is going to hurt Maria.

Unfortunately, it may be too late.

*Names have been changed.

Daniel R. Burns

Attorney & Mediator
1187 Troy Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110
Phone: (518) 529-5200

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