Note from John: Couples who are considering a divorce mediator usually want to have some idea of what to expect in how their mediation process will be facilitated. A client whose case is now closed wrote me a letter of appreciation. With their permission, I share this letter with you, because it describes their experience of my mediation services in a straight-forward and informative way. I believe this firsthand account offers insights which may be helpful to others about how I was able to help the couple resolve all the issues in their divorce proceeding in a timely manner.
March 1, 2017
Dear Mr. Butler,
I am writing to express my appreciation for your handling of the mediation between myself and my former spouse. We first consulted with you soon after I decided to file for divorce and my then-spouse suggested that we explore mediation, rather than hire two lawyers to duke it out. At the time, I had no experience with divorce, but plenty of experience dealing with trial lawyers so I was willing to try mediation. After our first phone call, I felt strongly that you were knowledgeable and experienced, and would be fair. I was not disappointed over the following months, as you worked with us and drafted the legal documents necessary to obtain court approval for the terms of our divorce.
While our divorce was not terribly acrimonious — at least judging from television depictions and friends’ accounts—it was not simple nor without pitfalls. The assets that needed to be divvied up were diverse, from homes to pensions all the way through health care accounts to sentimental items. We also had numerous family issues, such as the future expenses of our dependent children, which needed to be addressed with great delicacy. Your familiarity with the legal process–and with the many different approaches couples have taken when they’ve had emotionally and financially complex matters similar to ours —was essential to our getting to a final agreement on our divorce within a reasonable length of time.
I also would like to commend you on your skill in the art of mediation. You seemed to know when it was time to speak with us individually and when to hold group calls. You also had great instincts about when to bring up specific issues and when to allow disputes to linger. You were sensitive to the emotions that can drive bad decisions, but you also were willing to think about motivations and feelings. You allowed us to talk and present our views, but you also knew when it was necessary to offer your own views on a particular dispute. In one instance, your willingness to speak frankly about a relative living with us made all the difference in our ability to move forward.
Finally, I deeply appreciated your willingness to use Virtual Mediation in our case. Some reading this letter would probably find it surprising that we never mediated in person; all of our sessions were conducted by telephone. Your willingness to adopt the conference call approach was essential to our reaching a full and final agreement in an efficient manner. Simply put, the different work schedules of my former spouse and me, combined with the sometimes obstructionist attitude of my former spouse, would have dragged out the process interminably if we had had to find time during the work week to meet in person. I would strongly encourage anyone considering hiring you as a mediator, who does not live in your geographic area, to consider your Virtual Mediation services.
The key for me was having the right mediator, not having a mediator in the room with us.
To conclude, I whole-heartedly endorse you as a divorce mediator and hope that many people in the future will have the good sense to forgo lawyers and work things out more quickly, with far less expense and acrimony, by hiring you. I am certain that had my former spouse and I hired lawyers to handle the divorce, it would have taken far longer and cost far more. Instead, we are divorced and I am moving on with my new life.
For all of the above reasons, I thank you very much for your assistance. Please feel free to share this letter with others, and also to provide my contact information should a potential client wish to discuss my experience in more detail.
A satisfied client