More and more prospective divorce clients are being approached about mediation in Rhode Island. Previously I wrote an article about Divorce Mediation and what it is.
Not too long ago this scenario came to my attention. It illustrates what cannot and/or should not be done and how any trust that remains between you and your spouse can backfire on you if you're not careful.
Brady has fallen out of love with his wife. He strikes up a relationship with another woman and moves out of the marital home and in with this other woman.
Brady doesn't file for divorce right away and tells his wife that maybe they can work things out. His wife, Gail, has a good head on her shoulders and she isn't convinced.
Brady and Gail talk about dividing up their assets and debts briefly. Then Brady suggests that they go to mediation to resolve the division of their marital estate and Gail can file for divorce after the holidays to make it easier on their daughter who just turned eighteen (18).
Brady says he'll pay for the mediation and even for the divorce filing. This sounds agreeable to Gail though she has a bad feeling about it.
Brady sets up a mediation a few days later but doesn't consult Gail and doesn't tell her who the mediator is.
Luckily, Gail consults an attorney to understand the concept of mediation. She gets solid information during her consultation and is given specific questions to ask Brady to make sure things are on the up and up.
It's a Tuesday and Brady had scheduled the mediation for Wednesday evening. Gail calls Brady after work. The dialogue went something like this.
Gail: Brady, I already know you have an attorney so could you please tell me who it is?
Gail: Brady, what do you have to hide? I'm going to know who it is as soon as we start the divorce anyway.
Brady: I don't have anything to hide. My attorney is Terrance E. Parkins.
Gail: Okay. It just makes me feel more at ease, that's all. And we have mediation tomorrow night at 173 East Park Place in Cranston, right?
[Brady gets distracted so Gail looks up the address for Attorney Parkins on her iPad. Attorney Parkins has his practice at 173 East Park Place in Cranston, RI]
Gail: And what time was that?
Brady: Um 7:00 p.m.
Gail: But Gary that can't be right.
Brady: What can't be right?
Gail: Your attorney can't be the mediator.
Brady: I didn't say he was but why do you have a problem with it.
Gail: Because an attorney is prohibited from representing one parties' interests and still acting as a mediator.
Brady: Where did you hear that?
Gail: I consulted a lawyer about my rights.
Brady: Well are you still willing to go to the mediation.
Gail: I'll go and I'll listen to what you and your lawyer have to say but I'm not signing anything.
Brady: Okay, fine.
The next day Gail is served with divorce papers from Attorney Parkins at her work.
Since Gail didn't fall for Brady's attempt at a one-sided mediation Brady just went ahead and had his lawyer file for divorce.
Thanks to her consultation with the lawyer Gail got enough advice to be informed and prevent what might have been a disasterous situation.
Gail is now informed that the mediator is always a separate attorney that doesn't represent either parties' interests yet helps the parties reach a settlement resolution that both parties believe is fair to each of them.
All My Best to You on Your Journey Through The RI Family Court,
Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall - "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach"™