When I initially get a phone call about mediation, 60% of the time it’s a woman calling. We don't discuss the underlying reason that the couple wants a divorce because I'll be working with both of them and want to remain neutral.

Here are examples of mediations I conducted with three real couples. The names, of course, are fictitious.

Case study 3: Maria and Ed

This is the type of case I see fairly often: A woman walks in. She’s tired of doing everything. She has spent her life working, and also taking care of the kids. Often one child is in college, and the woman wants a life of her own, now.

The woman in cases like this is often strong, and in some cases, earns more money than her husband. Also it’s common for her husband to resist the divorce. In fact, he will only agree to a divorce if he makes sure he is financially secure. However, his sense of pride makes him unable to explain why he doesn’t want the divorce. In this case, Ed was embarrassed and depressed.

Hidden fears

I said to Ed, “I’m hearing that you don’t want the divorce, but I don’t have a sense of why. I see anger. I see body language indicating that you’re fearful. But I don’t understand what it is. Can you please help me understand?”

That’s when Ed mentioned finances. Maria immediately said, "I’m not trying to hurt you." Maria’s parents had given her money. She said, “My parents really liked you, Ed. They would have wanted you to have some of it.”

In Maria’s mind, she was paying her way out of her marriage. To her, this was a business decision and a logical one. She figured that the amount of money she would end up giving him was less than one third of what they would have blown on attorneys. She knew that if they went to court, there would be escalating conflict. And the divorce would take a far longer period of time. Maria decided to buy her freedom and keep the marital assets intact—for them, rather than give the money to attorneys.

In 4 hours, we were done.

Disclaimer Notice: The information contained herein is considered advertising. It is informational in nature and pertains to New York law. It is not legal advice about a legal problem, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information on this Website should not be used in place of retaining counsel. We cannot guarantee the same results we secured with any of the case studies cited on this Website. Images of people shown on the pages of this Website are representative and do not portray actual clients of Sheryl-Anne Sastow.