Divorce Mediation: A Game of Chess or a Jigsaw Puzzle?

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce Mediators

Commonly, it is said that divorce mediation is like a jigsaw puzzle, largely because much like a jigsaw puzzle, a number of the pieces seem unable to fit together at first glance. Hence, spouses approach their mediation one piece at a time, paying close attention to the little pieces that they hold, while never truly letting the entire puzzle out of sight.

On the other hand, much to our surprise, divorce litigation is often considered a game of chess. But why? It’s because in a game of chess, there are two warring parties that make use of every means necessary to meet their expectations. Most importantly chess is a game where one party wins and the other loses. This highlights how mediation can never be chess, since chess is not played alone. Even the king and the queen are flanked on either side by loyalists, just as you have your lawyers by your side in a divorce case.

Hence, drawing this parallel between the two highlights how mediation and litigation are different.

Another Round of Explanations

If you are uncomfortable with the jigsaw puzzle analogy for Orange County divorce mediation, the process can also be referred to as dentistry. Since much like a dentistry procedure, the patients i.e. the spouses come to mediation to either relieve themselves of pain or to make sure that they don’t have to experience further pain and suffering.  On that note, perhaps parallels can be drawn.

Yet, despite the analogies being drawn, what is divorce mediation? Mediation is a procedure that empowers the spouses. It decreases the conflict between them. These are all the common statements made about mediation and all of them are correct. Yet the question of what mediation is remains unanswered.

What is Mediation?

Simply put, Orange County divorce mediation is a process whereby both the spouses agree to discuss their differences and reach a resolution about them instead of fighting over them through their lawyers in front of a judge.

The thing about mediation is the authority and autonomy that it gives to the spouses. The process of mediation is designed to ensure that spouses, people whose futures are at stake, get to take hold of and make decisions in their own divorce case.

Hence, in a mediated divorce, the job of the mediator is to keep the spouses on the right track, advise them regarding the law and to make sure their tensions don’t boil over. Everything else, such as discussing and coming to a mutually acceptable resolution on the issues, is up to the spouses themselves.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”