Ready for Wife #2

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My wife and I decided to get a divorce two years ago. Life got in the
way. First we had to agree not to be adversarial, then had to figure out
how to deal with our biggest respective assets: our house, my 401K,
and her state-sponsored retirement account. By the time we’d made
sense of that I was in a new relationship and she had relocated to
another state. There are no children and the pets were amicably
resettled, so we decided to use a mediator. We went to one
recommended by a local attorney with whom I had worked
professionally in the past. The woman must be her sister or someone
who owes her money!! Four months later she has still not filed the
paperwork that she told us would be done in the first month. She has
“lost” or “misplaced” various important documents that are critical for
the process, and otherwise screwed things up so badly that both my
wife and I are ready to throttle her. We’ve invested $1500 into a
process we could have probably handled better ourselves. What can
we do?

Ready for Wife #2

Dear Ready:

You have two goals: get divorced and get remarried. In the process of
accomplishing the first, you need to divorce both your wife and your
first mediator. Focus on divorcing the mediator first, as she may be
listed as your agent of record. You can do this while you look for and
agree on a second mediator, if the plan below does not work.
Start by writing a letter to both the mediator and cc the attorney who
recommended her. Detail the timing of your contact, the promises that
were made, and then detail the list of mistakes and lost documents, all
the while maintaining a tone of aggrieved civility. Explain that you are
terribly dissatisfied and question both the competence and
professionalism of the mediator. Say that you want a detailed schedule
that she will adhere to (as in, divorced by Date X) or you want all your
money back. Say that if she can accomplish the divorce or return your
money you will reconsider your mutual decision to send your letter and
file a complaint to her licensing board.

My guess is that you will get an informal apology from the referring
attorney and either quick action or a refund from the mediator. If the
latter, go to Mediator Number 2. Most importantly will be to have an
independent counsel review the financial arrangements before you
sign off on them. Once a divorce is final you will need to live with the