COUPLES MEDIATION FOR A SEPARATION Janet Miller Wiseman LICSW, CDFM
Holly and Sam were in a real pickle. Ten years ago they bought a Victorian “Fixer Upper” house in the suburbs. Holly was now fit to be tied. She didn’t feel she could live in the sheetrock, dust, and plasterboard one more minute. When she and Sam came into the office for Couples Mediation, she proposed that they refinance the Victorian House and move out, with their two children, into a condo. She wanted Sam to move with her, preferably sell the house, or at least fix it up within a six -month time frame to a better stage to be sold.
Initially, Sam refused to move out into the condo. He stayed and worked on the Victorian house, every night after his two jobs. He talked about having his mother move into part of the house when she could no longer live alone. Sam said he never wanted to move from this home. He loved it; he even was in love with it.
When Holly could no longer take taking showers in the sink after a year, she and Sam agreed to refinance the house so that she and the children could move into an apartment in town. After six months Holly and Sam separated their finances and Sam began to pay child support. They were on the verge of trying to decide whether they would work on their marriage, continue a separation or divorce. Holly declared that she would never, ever, move back into the house. Sam declared that he would live in the house for the remainder of his life. After a year of paying a high-cost rent, Holly was ready to think about a buying a small home.
That seemed to be that. Holly said she would move on with her life, in other words, she would want a divorce. “Not so fast”, Sam replied, “I may have to reconsider whether I will move out of the house.”
That is exactly where Holly and Sam are now. We’ll keep you posted on the outcome of their situation!
Four months later, Sam and Holly have decided to create a Separation/Divorce Agreement. The handwriting had been on the wall for a very long time, but it takes time for people to accept and digest that the life they have created together needs to undergo a change. They intend to preserve their family, living under two roofs. They have taken the time to get used to living apart, to normalize it, so that their ways of life are not going to change appreciatively.
Stay tuned to hear of subsequent developments.