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Divorce Mediation can be an excellent (and inexpensive) alternative to attorneys. But is mediation right for you? Legal expert Rachel Fishman Green gives Debbie the low-down, detailing real-life stories of when mediation worked and when it went south.

 

Related Content:

The Ins and Outs of Mediation, a Q&A with mediator, Rachel Fishman Green

Three Tips For Finding the Right Mediator For You

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2 comments

  • Comment Link Guest Friday, 13 July 2012 17:37 posted by Guest

    Dear Mary,

    I felt so sad and: Dear Mary,

    I felt so sad and angry reading about all the abuse you were subjected to. It has been quite a while since you posted and I just came upon your post. But I hope you found the strength to continue, to choose life and nurture yourself since all this happened, which is the best "revenge," if any.

    Ms. Green looks to be an amazing mediator who I would reach out to for my own mediation needs but I'm on the West coast.

    I feel so sad that your health was sacrificed during that time. I hope you are doing much much better and on the road to a new life. Your life is still waiting to be lived!

  • Comment Link Mary Ellen Kiken Wednesday, 30 December 2009 12:07 posted by Mary Ellen Kiken

    mental illness and mediation, a failed system: I am a 61 year old woman who has suffered from depression for much of my life. I was married to a physician(an OB-GYN) for 27 years, who emotionally abused me. He was heavily involved with pornography and was unfaithful most of the time, even having at least on affair with a patient. He "gaslighted " me in arguments, and threatened me physically. In 1979 he made threats that prompted me to make a serious suicide attempt. When I returned from the hospital, he forcibly sodomized me. He refused to pay for my psychiatrist during the separation. He did not want me to work during the marriage, and was secretive and controlling financially, even forcing me to sign tax returns without seeing them. I had no real idea about our wealth as all the investments were in his name. I stayed in the marriage until the divorce in 2000 because he bragged about using his connections in organized crime and his power to take my children away, never allowing me to see them, and threatened to gradually destroy my life. When we unofficially separated, he barely gave me enough money for rent, and the lawyers I attempted to hire all wanted large retainers. No one was there to help me. My father was dead and my mother had no idea about legal or financial matters. I was afraid of my husband, but I depended on him. Since I had no money for an attorney, I agreed to enter mediation at his suggestion. He claimed he was not hiding money in the" Caymans". I had no legal way to ascertain a true picture of our assets. The mediation in Virginia proceeded with neither of the 2 mediators doing anything to discover the appropriateness
    of the case for mediation. The male mediator manipulated me into a settlement that did not make lifetime support possible. I was ignorant of the investment process and the money was set up in a way that I couldn't control. When I tried to get legal help later my ex had "funneled" me into one attorney who did nothing but take a huge fee. Virginia gives legal immunity to mediators, so I had no recourse. My post divorce therapist diagnosed my depression and also post traumatic stress disorder and said the mediators should have stopped the process when they observed the extreme imbalance of power.
    I am bankrupt now and have had large medical expenses, having had a large tumor removed in 2001 which led to numerous complications. My ex husband has told my children that he doesn't care at all about what happens to me. He has remarried a wealthy women, and has gone into partial retirement. I have no hope, and can no longer afford the expense of a therapist. My children are trying to help me. But most of the time I just want to die.