I left with the most profound respect and gratitude to our mediator; a soft-spoken woman who was incredibly skilled in diffusing the raw emotions of the moment. The lawyer was a master at explaining to my wife why her some of her outrageous demands were unreasonable or legally impossible. She followed this with long silences while my wife digested the information and then backed down.
To be fair, my wife did make significant concessions throughout the process. Our year of difficult discussions regarding our settlement helped pave the way to such a speedy agreement. My wife behaved fairly well and only threw my gayness into my face once during the whole two hours. As we neared the end of the session, the atmosphere became increasingly tense and both my wife and I were facing opposite walls in our swivel chairs.
In the end, my wife tried one final kick at the cat, refusing to pay her share of the lawyer's fee, saying, "Why should I pay anything? .... our marriage breakdown is all your fault!!" The lawyer looked at her impassively while I said two things to my wife:
- One of our earliest breakthroughs two years ago was when we agreed that we each shared 50% of the responsibility for our failed marriage.
- We've just come through years of difficulty, we've dealt with several million dollars worth of pension assets, spousal support, real estate and dividing up a lifetime worth of "stuff." Do you really want to jeopardize the whole deal over $400? Do you want this to drag out forever? So, she agreed to pay her share of the fee.
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