A prime example of this is parenting. We have seen with our clients at Westfield Mediation, LLC, that often times during the course of the marriage one parent handles more of the day-to-day parental responsibilities than the other. Now you are getting divorced and your co-parent wants a 50-50 parenting plan. You might not trust that the other parent can all of a sudden handle 50% parenting time in a shared parenting plan. And you are willing to go to court to fight to have a majority of the parenting time. But at what cost and what gain? There are 4 weeks (lets call it 28 days for math sake) in a month. So instead of 14 days for each parent you want 22 days for you and 6 days for your co-parent. There is a lot of wiggle room between 14 versus 22 days and just because you go to court does not mean you are going to end up with 22 days. And the judge may see the co-parents point of view and you end up with 14 days each anyway.
Or you could stop counting quantity altogether and focus on the quality of time you have with your kids. If it is your parenting day but the day is spent after school driving from one activity to the next, doing homework, eating fast food somewhere in between and then bed, what have you really won?
So instead of spending a lot of money, energy and time going through the court system to possibly get a worse situation than what you could have gotten had you stayed in mediation and found some compromise within the wiggle room, stop and think what you will gain and what it will cost you to gain this. But let’s say the judge decides and grants you 18 days a month and your co-parent has 10 days. 4 days more/less than 50-50% parenting. Is 4 days a month on either side of the argument worth the court process? The court process is very stressful and takes a long time. Litigation is super expensive (college tuition expensive). And there is no guarantee you get what you want. Most people end up with some sort of compromise anyway, even if they go through the courts. But now you have no money left to pay for your children’s college education.
For more information on divorce mediation, please contact Randi M. Albert, JD, or Michelle Weinberg, M. Ed., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, at Westfield Mediation, LLC at 908.913.0373. View our website at www.westfieldnjmediation.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.