The Divorce rate for Boomers (those born between the years of 1946 and 1964) is on a steady increase. The issues, priorities and choices made in a “Boomer Divorce” are unique to and have significant consequences not only to themselves but to their “extended family” and life long friends. While there are numerous legal avenues to obtain a divorce, there are many reasons why mediation can be the most effective and helpful going forward.
1. Mediators will discuss the underlying reasons for the divorce
In order to allow the couple to make good and informed decisions, a good mediator will have the parties examine their underlying feelings that led to the divorce so these feelings don’t prevent logical decision making and communication to take place. Some common feelings for “Boomers” are resentment, anger, hopelessness and a sense of failure.
2. Mediators will discuss the financial impact on the couple going forward
A mediator has the flexibility to have the couple examine their finances, see that they are educated about their current and possible future financial situation, “try on” various options and determine how they would like their lives to continue. Rather than focusing on how a court will divide assets, liabilities and cash flow, a good mediator will look for common interests and then help the parties craft a plan that will satisfy the interest and also stay within the boundaries of what courts will think is fair.
3. Mediators will discuss the emotional impact of the divorce on all concerned
Unlike an attorney representation, a mediator will examine how their decisions about their divorce may emotionally impact them as individuals, their grown children, their grandchildren, their extended family on both sides, and their lifelong common friends. In addition, a good mediator will discuss how to deal with these changes, how to move on, how to relate to one other after the divorce, how to both enjoy their grandchildren and their common friends.
4. Mediators will discuss Retirement, Social Security, and Insurance
A good mediator with financial know how will help the parties discuss and understand their collective retirement plans, pension plans, Social Security, other Public Benefits, and Insurance. These matters are often quite significant for this age group. Mediators may suggest referrals to appropriate professionals for further review and discussion as necessary.
5. Mediators will provide a post divorce checklist
A good mediator will provide the couple with a list of matters to think about and take care of after the divorce is final. This list may include completing new wills, health care directives, estate planning and financial planning. Also on the list will be support groups, ways to resolve future disagreements short of court intervention, spiritual and emotional resources, all of these resources geared to this “Boomer couple” and their collective and individual needs.