Can We “Pause” Our Divorce?
By Jennifer Segura
Often we have couples who start the divorce process, and then they have to “pause” for one reason or another. Sometimes they pause because through mediation, they have resolved some of the bigger issues within their relationship, and they feel optimistic about the possibility of reconciling. So, both parties choose to put things on hold while they see what may be possible.
This is an awesome “pause.” And, it happens more often than you would think. Some of the problems with “going to marriage therapy” is that talk therapy can (a) take a long time and (b) is often focused on the past and what HAS HAPPENED, rather than focusing on the present and the future.
In mediation, we try to refer to the past as little as possible. We want to get an idea of who you are, where you have been, and how long you have been there, but we are not so interested in WHY you are where you are. Don’t get me wrong; if you WANT to share why you are at this position in life, we will listen. We are always balancing the typical flow of the process with the needs of a specific client. Some clients NEED to tell their stories. And that is OK. We will listen to your story. What we avoid is allowing blame to be placed on either of the partners exclusively. The reality is, even if it may FEEL like blame should be solely placed on one of the partners, a relationship takes two people. It takes two people to work…or not work. Plus, at the end of the day, it does not change the outcome of your case if one person seems more at fault for the demise of the marriage than the other.
California courts frown on agreements that include fault-based claims. So, it is always best to avoid them. Plus, the past is just that… it is in the past. We want to help make your FUTURE better, brighter, and more harmonious than it was during the dark past. In doing so, sometimes, our couples find their way back to each other. If this happens, we will shift gears and head down the reconciliation path. Please, do not ever feel like you are too far into the process to pause at ANY time. Even if you have sent the documents to the court… if you and your partner feel there is a need to try one last time, we are your biggest cheerleaders, and we will do everything we can to help make that a reality for you both.
So… Of course, there are other reasons why a couple may want to “pause” their process. Life happens… I think we all have a new appreciation for not expecting ANYTHING to be as we expected it to be these days. Perhaps a grandparent is ill, a teenager is struggling and needs your full attention and commitment, or a family pet passes away. There are so many unknowns, and we get that. We are right there with you! So no matter what it is, it is OK. You can always “pause” the process, for any reason, any time. Mediation is much different than litigation. We are not on anyone else’s timeline. We do not have court dates and discovery cut-offs. When you sign on to start the process with us, think of it as starting a journey. I always tell my clients it is OK not to know exactly where you want this to go. You know where you are right now is not making you happy.
So, we will start this journey together and see where it leads us. Of course, if you are very clear where you want this journey to lead you, we will focus on getting you there as efficiently as possible. If you are still so uncertain, you feel paralyzed with fear. Let’s take it one day at a time. If you need a break, we take one. If you find clarity and want to speed up the process, we’ve got you. We are your tour guides and will take you where you want to go when you want to go there. We will never push you faster than you want to go.
If you happen to be on the fence and unsure what to do or where to start, start with a call to us. We will provide a free 45-minute zoom consultation to help you talk through your options and see if one of them fits. Don’t be afraid that we will pressure you into beginning a process if you are not ready to start. That is not our style. Most of our clients take some time before they start the process. It is a big leap, and you should have all of the time you need before taking it.
Ready to learn more? Call San Diego Family Mediation Center at (858) 736-2411 to schedule your free consultation.