Healing, Not Hurting
Updated: Jan 16
Arita Bohannan appeared on the Walt Bennetti Show on WGSO 990 AM and was able to explain, in her own words, what mediation means to her:
“There has to be a better way to help families end a marriage and move into the next phase of their life. The court system is so adversarial. There is no way around, its the way they are designed to ensure they are fair. It encourages fighting…not intentionally, but that’s the way it’s designed. My law partner, Lauren Rogers and I started taking classes and doing mediations. Having people leave our offices with an outcome that THEY helped reach, rather than what a judge told them they had to do…it was making a difference in people lives. For me, I’m 16 years in and not at the end of my career but at a point where I want to help people heal, not hurt.
People are arguing about who’s lamp or book this is but that stuff isn’t really what they are upset about. It’s the underlying issues. And that’s what's great about mediation. We are at a table together. With our without their lawyers. It’s an opportunity to say things to each other that you can’t say in court. They can get the past off their chest. To look at each other eye to eye and say ‘can we move on, can we just resolve it?’
What I discovered is that when people have a hand in resolving the issue, for example a visitation schedule they aren’t completely in love with, they are still much more likely to follow it, they are much more compliant, and tend not to fight with each other when life happens…like someone being five minutes late.
They start putting their kids first. Its hard to look in the eyes of your ex and not see your children looking back. So the mediation process itself brings healing. It’s so rewarding for me personally to see people happy with their outcomes.
I’ve left court so many times with my clients literally not having a chance to say a word and explaining to them in an elevator what just happened to their life. The same outcome in the case may ultimately happen in mediation, but the difference is that they had a voice. They were heard and had a chance to listen. They weren’t just handed a judgment.
As a mediator, I can’t be called to testify. I am literally there to help facilitate a resolution that THEY reach. It’s wonderful because they can say what they really feel, what they really want or need, without fear that it will be used against them in court. Mediation can be used at an phase in your divorce…or even several years later if additional issues arise.
I can’t change what happened to these people. I can’t fix their marriage, but I can help them end it without torturing each other. I can help them end it with their dignity in tact. I can help them end it without ruining their children’s live. I can help them have peace. And frankly, I consider it an honor to do so.”