Going through a divorce is one of the most emotionally charged periods of your life.  You are at once confused, overwhelmed, fearful, furious, lonely, and filled with righteous indignation and hate.  The trust you once had in your spouse has vanished.  Every move the other person makes might have an ulterior motivated or be calculated as a way of “winning” the divorce. 

You need a divorce mediator.

Too often, way too often, people in your shoes seek the advice of counsel to protect their interests against this now adversarial spouse.  And the attorney usually does an excellent job of protecting your finances—except for those that are heading into the attorney’s pocket—and the rights you have with your children.  What the attorney does not do is work with your emotions.  For the attorney, this process is about making a deal with the other side, like any contract negotiation.

You need a mediator.

A mediator, working with you and your spouse, also wants to craft an agreement between the two of you.  The mediator, though, wants the two of you to bring your emotion to the negotiating table, so that it can be acknowledged, honored, and appreciated.  You own your emotions and if they are not honored and appreciated, they can overpower you.  If they are acknowledged, honored, and appreciated, you can move on from them and get to a place where constructive deal making can occur.


In the space that a good divorce mediator creates, these emotions will be well attended to.  The mediator will work with you and your spouse to express your emotions in a safe and constructive way in order to uncover the unmet needs that are creating the emotions.  And in uncovering the unmet needs, the mediator is empowering you and your spouse to negotiate at a much richer level than those who are stuck in litigation, where negotiations tend to be positional and adversarial.

I know a man whose wife cheated on him and did cocaine while pregnant with their daughter.  He was filled with hate, and rightfully so.  With that hate, and the hate that she returned his way, the two of them spent years in court battling over support and custody.  They never gave themselves the opportunity to work through that hate in mediation, to express to one another, with the mediator present, what it felt like when times were tough in their marriage.  They never got to empathize with one another, or identify with one another or hear about the unmet needs of one another.  So they went to court and wasted a lot of money and time.  At their daughter’s wedding twenty five years after they divorced, they still could barely manage a word with one another.  That’s sad.

So, if you see this story possibly unfolding for you, say to yourself, “You know what, I need a mediator.”

Tom Petrelli

Posted by Tom Petrelli

The family law attorneys at Petrelli Previtera, LLC, (Previously Petrelli Law, P.C. ) approach each family law case with the care and sensitivity that it deserves. The firm's attorneys have a firm grasp of the applicable laws and the legal ramifications involved and can answer specific questions you may have about your family law issue and ensure that you have full knowledge of your rights. Serving South Jersey and Philadelphia with locations at: 1845 Walnut Street, 19th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103 | (215) 523-6900 227 Laurel Road, Suite 100, Voorhees, NJ 08043 | (201) 655-7204 180 N. Stetson Street, Suite 3500, Chicago, IL 60601 | (312) 252-2085 516 DeKalb Street, Suite C, Norristown, PA 19401 | (610) 924-2870 203 W Chestnut St, Suite 204, West Chester, PA 19380 | (610) 431-4012