Tell It to the Judge


I can list plenty of good, solid reasons why people going through a divorce should mediate rather than
litigate: saves money, improves parenting relationships, faster, more control over outcomes… I could probably go on. All logical reasons that really can’t be disputed much. Yet, only a small number of people choose mediation when it comes down to it. Why? Believe me, this is a question I ask quite a bit.

My theory is that people want to have their moment in front of a judge. Everyone wants to stand up
in front of an authority figure, describe all of the awful things their ex has done, and hopefully be rewarded with more money or time with the kids. This desire is so strong that people will risk everything to make
it happen. I was recently talking with a friend about his situation. I suggested that his outcome in
court might not be what he hoped for. He told me that he had consulted an excellent attorney who informed him that, in fact, he has virtually no chance of improving his situation. But he filed anyway. He explained this by saying: if I take my case in front of a judge, I can finally be heard and then I will know for sure that I have done everything I can to win custody. I don’t know that this reasoning will serve him, but I do know that it’s a powerful force. 

Maybe better to consider what outcomes you really want and how best to achieve those.