It is agreed that men and women do not think alike on many topics. With divorce being known to be one of the top stressors that people may experience in their lifetime, one wonders if men and women think alike when it comes to choosing divorce mediation as a method to move through divorce.
As full time divorce mediators who are also attorneys, we have observed that men and women choose divorce mediation for different reasons. Here are 5 reasons we hear commonly from men. Note: apologies to same sex couples with whom we have not yet had the opportunity to observe but welcome the chance.
1. Men suspect that the court system is not fair to them especially in the co-parenting department.
Although we live in an age of gender equality in the court system, many men have read and heard stories from friends, relatives and co-workers who report that the court has not given them equal time with their children. It is still an uphill battle for them when their spouse has objections to a shared plan.
Men recognize that mediation gives them at least the opportunity to discuss the topic in a safe place with a neutral third party to facilitate the conversation.
2. Men often want all parties to be ok "financially speaking", at least for an agreed upon period of time but believe the court system will not hear their ideas as to how to accomplish this.
Mediation allows both parties to determine their needs, hear the law on the subject, speak to financial advisors and/or separate consulting attorneys. Most couples after doing their due diligence are able to agree on basic needs and formulas.
3. Men prefer to work on a problem and find a solution quickly and then move onto the next issue. Men view "hired guns" as delay tactics and ways to spend their money needlessly.
Divorce mediation allows them to tackle issues quickly with the help of the mediator who will keep the discussion complete, well thought out and fair. This can be achieved while still keeping the process open without undue time delays. Most women want this too but men don't think women do. Actually both men and women think that a direct collaborative discussion (with help as needed) is healthy.
4. Men want to know how much, when, and for how long so they can make adjustments to their lives.
Divorce mediation gets right to these issues. Most couples are not in need of extensive discovery. By the second mediation session, options are being generated that can be discussed and tried on a temporary basis with no pressure.
5. Men want to get it done in a reasonable time.
The average divorce case handled through traditional Attorney representation is at least a year to get to a trial. Many people think they make an appointment with the court and they will hear the 3-4 issues they can't agree to. Wrong, it simply doesn't work that way. Why be in limbo for so long.