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Divorce Mediation Is Not for Everyone – Part 2

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Divorce Mediation Is Not for Everyone – Part 2

Divorce Mediation Is Not for Everyone - Part 2 by Daniel R. Burns

{3:42 minutes to read} When I first met Tom and Amy, they informed me that they had separated about a month earlier, and their 12-year-old daughter, Katie, was living in the marital residence with Amy. Tom said he moved out of the house because Amy asked him to leave. She disputed this and said she had only told him the marriage was over and that she wanted a divorce.

Regardless of who said what, Tom moved into a house closer to where he worked, but an hour or so away from the marital residence. Unfortunately, this made it difficult for Tom to spend time with Katie during the school week. As a result, they worked out an arrangement whereby Katie would spend part of each weekend with Tom.

During a recent weekend, Tom shared with Katie an online “dating app” that he had downloaded for himself. According to Amy, when Katie returned home, she was very upset at Dad for sharing this dating app with her.

Amy related this incident at the next mediation session. Tom did not deny that he had shown the app to Katie but stated that he did not see the harm in doing so. He only wanted to show her a woman he had found on the site and get his 12-year-old daughter’s opinion on this person.

At that point, Amy turned to me and asked what I thought about Tom’s behavior. I responded that it was not up to me to judge the behavior of either of them.

When she pressed me again to render an opinion about what Tom had done and I declined to do so, she became upset with me. She then stated that I was not doing my job and decided to end the mediation.

While I certainly understood her frustration, and I did, in fact, have an opinion about his behavior, I believe that as a mediator it is not up to me to decide what is appropriate for them. Mediation is about self-determination, and that means they determine what is appropriate.

If a couple needs someone to judge their behavior or tell them what they should or should not do, perhaps mediation is not the right process for them.

Melissa Burns

16 Pearl St., Suite 201
Glens Falls, NY 12801
Phone: (518) 529-5200

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