Over the weekend I saw the movie “The Marriage Story”. The movie begins with a couple attending mediation where they tell each other everything they loved about the other person. For anyone who has attended mediation, this is not the usual way to begin. Mediation is usually about looking forward. Yet, looking back at the things that brought you and your spouse together is a good building block. Mediation is about solutions – solutions that work for your entire family. In any family, each person brings something to the table whether it be a strength or a weakness. It’s those strengths and weaknesses that should be considered when mediating an agreement.
Shortly into the movie the parties flounder through their first Halloween separated. Henry, their son, basically has two Halloweens due to the tension between the parties. As the movie progresses, it is clear each person has his or her own agenda. Husband wants to stay in New York and continue working at his theatre company. Wife wants to move to Los Angeles, where she is from originally, and act on a television show. Henry, the child in the movie, just wants to live in one place, with one set of friends. Yet, it is clear as the movie continues, no one is going to get everything he or she wants and everyone will have to make compromises they can live with.
In the movie, both parties hire cut throat divorce attorneys who fight vigorously for their clients. Eventually though, the parties settle, with Wife’s attorney sneaking in a provision regarding custody and saying “Take the win.” In real life, there are no winners or losers when it comes to divorce, just compromise. At the end of the movie, a year later, the parties are able to go trick or treating together with their son, having come to an arrangement they can both live with. Both parties now live and work in LA and have settled into a parenting time routine. During the last scene in the movie, the wife allows Henry to spend the night with his father, even though it is really her night according to the schedule.
If there is anything this movie shows, it is that divorce is a process. It is a series of decisions and compromises the parties can live with. It is not standing in a courtroom one day with your attorney and the judge banging the gavel, telling you “You are divorced!”. Judges don’t want to make your life decisions. They want you to decide what works for your family. Divorce can be expensive and stressful and that’s where Lyons and Associates can be helpful. Whether you need an attorney that will fight for you or a mediator that can help you reach a peaceful resolution, Lyons and Associates can give you that personal attention. Chris Ann Wright is a court certified economic mediator, a certified domestic violence economic mediator and a certified matrimonial attorney. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-575-9777.