How A Marriage Contract Can Save Yours From Divorce

Renowned as the “Divorce Whisper”, Master Mediator and Family Law Expert Colleen McNamee of McNamee Mediations is so effective at facilitating amicable divorces that some couples find themselves preserving and healing their marriages during the mediation process itself!

Why Couples Choose Divorce Mediation

As the average divorce that is litigated in courts continues to increase in duration and cost in Orange County, many seek to divorce without the financial, emotional, and physical toll of traditional divorce. Couples today would rather communicate and negotiate with one another directly, without lawyers and court dates, which is exactly what divorce mediation offers. 

While either party may consult with an outside attorney, counselor, or financial planner of their choice at any time throughout mediation, most cases by McNamee Mediations simply involve two people and Colleen McNamee herself, from beginning to end. 

Mediation is an alternative to traditional litigation. While litigation can escalate into an “all or nothing” and “winner takes all” battle, mediation offers more flexibility and room for creative compromises. Most people do not make the decision to divorce light-heartedly, and thus resort to calling a divorce attorney when they feel they have reached their breaking point. The dynamic of divorce litigation does not encourage divorce lawyers to help the couple avoid divorce. Furthermore, it is not their primary goal to help save a marriage. The job of a divorce attorney is to represent the sole best interests of the party they represent (sometimes with additional considerations, such as the best interests of children) often at the expense of the other party.

The goal of a mediator is to help both parties move forward with mutual respect, whether that means attempting to preserve their marriage or proceeding to separate peacefully and amicably. 

How A Marriage Contract Can Foster Accountability

Mediation offers a holistic approach to exploring and resolving conflicts that have led one or both spouses to contemplate divorce. 

Devised by Colleen McNamee, a marriage contract is a tool that helps couples essentially on the last leg of their marriage. The marriage contract is a document that clearly sets forth mutual terms that both parties promise to abide by to stay married. If one of the spouses breaks any of the terms, divorce paperwork has already been prepared and will be filed immediately to terminate the marriage. 

Weaponized Incompetence

If you feel like your partner has repeatedly put little to no effort to fulfill reasonable requests and then excuses themselves for “not knowing how” or “forgetting”, it is natural to feel extremely disappointed and neglected. 

“Weaponized incompetence” is a behavioral pattern where someone purposefully fails to fulfill a task adequately, or at all, to evade responsibility. In marriage, weaponized incompetence related to shared tasks or division of labor can contribute to marital breakdown. 

Some may even weaponize incompetence to manipulate relationship dynamics, portraying their partner as nagging and controlling, and themselves as innocent and blameless. This eventually fosters resentment in the partner who constantly feels that they have no choice but to bear the burden of saying “never mind, I’ll do it myself.”

While causes of dissatisfaction in relationships may vary widely due to a number of factors, weaponized incompetence is one example of how intimacy disintegrates. The issue is particularly relevant in illustrating how marriage contracts can incentivize spouses to take accountability to save their marriage.

Stop Being Taken For Granted

A spouse who feels undervalued and underappreciated may have expressed these feelings repeatedly. They may have even gone to the extent of an ultimatum as a “Hail Mary” attempt to be taken seriously, only to continue to be taken for granted.

Resolving weaponized incompetence, or any relationship conflict, requires open and honest communication. The spouse wielding incompetence may not realize or may be in denial about their behavior. Similarly, the spouse shouldering unequal responsibility may feel restricted from expressing their dissatisfaction and may require professional help in articulating and advocating for their needs. 

It Takes Two

A marriage contract reinforces the principle that marriage is a commitment and partnership. A document of the contractual terms of the marriage, with a mediator facilitating and bearing witness, can deter one of the spouses from relying on excuses or claims that they “didn’t know” about their responsibilities and role in preserving their marriage. 

The process of creating a marriage contract with a mediator helps to re-establish trust and mutual respect within the relationship.

Simply put, the marriage contract is bound to an agreed span of time, after which spouses will reevaluate whether or not to complete the divorce filing. Once the document is finalized, it is notarized by legal counsel from McNamee Mediations. If one or both spouses fail to adhere to the terms of the contract, one of you may simply contact the mediator to proceed to separate and file the documents with the court. Otherwise, the paperwork will just remain in a file indefinitely.

If you are considering divorce but also wondering about the possibility of saving your marriage, call McNamee Mediations to see how a marriage contract may be able to help.

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