Facing Divorce? The next steps you take are critical to the financial, emotional and spiritual well-being for you and your family. Divorce mediation with a non-attorney is an option that may work well in your case.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce Mediation Resolves Conflict!
Divorce mediation is a non-adversarial and informal process during which an impartial third party, the mediator, assists the divorcing couple with the opportunity to negotiate and reach a mutually acceptable agreement about their children, property, and support. It offers significant advantages to couples who have the courage to dialogue (even if there is a difference in styles of communication and poor communication between spouses) with each other regarding their conflicts and their mutual interests as they stand at the crossroads of divorce. The couple collaborates as they define what their definition of fair is and each gives up the option of blaming attorneys or judges for imposing an ‘unfair’ settlement upon them because THEY had the power to create their settlement. The process will help put all your “divorce pieces” in perspective as you make choices about your future and your family’s future.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation:
The bottom line: Divorce is never easy on a family, but the use of the divorce mediation process rather than the adversarial process, can enable couples to approach a divorce from the values of their faith and family-centered perspective. The couple can make good decisions as they construct plans together for their finances and how they will parent after the divorce. People going through divorce choose this option because of the following advantages:
Mediated resolutions are based on specific circumstances and goals of the participants
Divorce Mediation leads to agreements that are tailored for their family which seldom happens through litigation
Couples formulate realistic solutions for their specific needs and concerns
Controls costs – both financially and emotionally
Encourages the protection of relationships with other family members, friends, and relationships in the community
Greatly benefits children by being child-centered and keeping their best-interests as a primary goal and to avoid an adversarial process that keeps their parents in high conflict
Studies have shown that people who settle their divorce issues through divorce mediation rather than a litigated divorce often have less bitterness and animosity when it is over because they felt heard during the process, were actively a part of the negotiations and problem-solving, and realize the reality of their financial picture and the needs and interests of their children and further realized why they “gave” in some areas and received in others which makes a mutually agreeable plan that both parties can live with.
Overview of the Divorce Mediation Process
Confidential process with a neutral mediator
Mediator does NOT provide legal advice, financial advice, tax advice or therapeutic advice
Does the mediator work with my attorney or without attorney involvement – both – for more information read Mediating with Sandra
Mediator will reduce the decisions reached, during the conferences, into a Memorandum of Understanding which must then be reduced into a legal Separation Agreement
Divorce Mediation is voluntary and may be terminated by either party or the mediator
Mediator does not hold the responsibility for the outcome of the divorce mediation
Mediator can mediate all the divorcing issues and interests or can do pieces (i.e. the parenting plan and not all the financial divisions)
Divorce mediation is very successful in the Collaborative Divorce process.
Why is Divorce Mediation more successful than other divorce processes?
Don’t allow the process to be a part of the problem!
It offers you the ability to divorce differently and better! The process helps each of you to clarify your concerns, interests and values while allowing you to retain the decision making power for your final agreement – it is a process that thinks of you and your family’s well-being and future by allowing:
Personal involvement and responsibility
Ability to decide what is in your (and your children’s) best-interest instead of a judge or lawyers who do not know you or your family and your vision for your future
Objective to find a “win-win” rather than an attitude and actions to defeat your spouse
Involve other professionals (attorneys, financial advisors, tax professionals, therapist/child specialist, mortgage lenders…) who are qualified to best help you map out your resolution that supports your goals and your future needs
Traditionally a divorce has been extremely expensive with attorney fees, and the process can be slow in resolving issues and leaving people and families in limbo for far too long. Statistics support that Divorce Mediation is less expensive (emotionally and financially) and is resolved in a fraction of the time than other dispute resolution processes.
Mediated divorce settlements are understood and abided by at a much higher success rate than any other dispute resolution agreement.
Clients become knowledgeable about their divorcing issues and the solutions they feel work best for their resolution
The process works at the speed of pace of the spouse that needs more time for processing and gaining adequate knowledge and emotional ability to make informed decisions
Divorce Mediators are neutral, trained professionals who may have backgrounds in law, mental health, finance, and/or business. The divorce mediator’s role is to guide participants through the relevant issues, and facilitate the discussion of realistic solutions through brainstorming, experience, and attentive listening.
What are the benefits to my children if we choose the divorce mediation process?
Divorce mediation is far more beneficial in helping parents design how the two of them will continue to raise, support and parent their most precious asset – their children than any other dispute resolution process! Questions to consider:
Will they hear their parents speaking negatively about one another?
Will they have to deliver messages, bills and paper work from one parent to the other?
Will they be pawns in the war as one parent tries to control the other? Or…
Will they know their parents both love them and they are free to love both their parents?
Will they feel secure and comfortable to have both parents at all their activities and special events in their lives?
Will they know that conflict between adults does not mean they have to lose a relationship with one of their parents?
Will they know that they will be cared for financially, emotionally, and physically even though their parents have gone through a divorce?
Will they be free to share their hearts and concerns with both parents without guilt, shame or fear?
Will they know that they will get to be children and the adults will not make adult issues theirs?
PARENTS – THE CHOICE IS YOURS!!!
Focusing on the Children –
The children deserve for their parents to do the best job possible to create a healthy and functioning co-parenting relationship. Divorcing couples will work toward a parenting plan that focuses mainly on the best interests of their children, rather than on their own wants and needs. Such a plan takes children’s developmental needs into account, defines conflict resolution or even conflict prevention, defines what will occur as kids grow, income changes, and parents possible relocating out-of-the area, in the process, when children are involved, they lay a strong foundation for working together. If you have children you will be in a relationship at some level for the rest of your living years! Decide today how your children are going to remember this defining time in their lives.
Redefining roles and responsibilities and building a co-parenting plan and co-parent relationship
Creating a new parenting plan due to changes with children’s ages and/or other circumstances
Issues that arise as parents live out their co-parenting relationship
Issues that arise from remarriages and blending families
“Children would rather be from a broken home than live in one.” – Dr. Phil
Will divorce mediation work even with couples who can’t agree on anything or are high-conflict couples?
Yes. Many couples enter into it discouraged about their inability to agree on even small issues and are concerned about the amount of conflict present in the relationship. I understand that couples who are divorcing may have communication problems, trust issues and both lead to difficulty making agreements. I am trained and skilled to handle these challenging situations and in helping clients move through the impasse that difficult communication and trust creates. It often helps couples to express themselves and begin to de-escalate and with success the process may promote better communication in the future if you have children and will be co-parenting.
Requirements for a couple to mediate?
A couple must be willing to mediate and to meet together with me to discuss their divorce issues.
A couple must be willing to provide all the information requested of them so that both parties can make “informed decisions.”
Do I lose my power if I choose Divorce Mediation?
A common question about utilizing this process of is one of being concerned over a person losing their legal power during the process. The definition for “losing power” is defined differently by each party but the most common definitions are: 1)will I be guilted into a resolution that I will regret; 2) will my spouse be honest and transparent about the money; 3) will I feel like I can speak up if my spouse has been controlling. If you have any of these concerns then you should discuss them with your divorce mediator. A seasoned and well-qualified mediator knows how to be effective in dealing with all these fears. If the divorce mediator becomes in-effective then they should recommend that mediation be terminated (divorce mediation is voluntary and may be terminated by either party or the mediator). No rights or advantages are lost in your willingness to try divorce mediation. However, well-facilitated mediation experience very few mediation break downs that then result in litigation.
What is the cost and time required for divorce mediation?
Divorce Mediation is not only more effective but it is less expensive than litigation (not only financially, but emotionally as well). No two divorces are exactly the same some being more complex than others. To learn more visit Mediating with Sandra.
How long will the divorce mediation process take?
Again, no two divorces are the same and have different complexities. For instance, if you do not have children then you may need less hours but if you have a more complicated financial divorce (or you need a business valuation) then you may need more hours. We will meet in 2.0 hour sessions and work our way to resolve your outstanding issues. To learn more visit: Mediating with Sandra.
Avoid a Bad Divorce
Divorce is hard! Divorce stories are usually about how bad it is going or how bad it was. But seldom do you hear them talk about their cooperative divorce. Some reasons why people believe they have a bad divorce story to tell if because they:
Felt their side was taken advantage of
Didn’t feel they got a fair settlement – other person got more
Spent all their money on attorneys
Felt they lost everything
Didn’t feel they were heard in the process
Aren’t getting to spend enough time with their children
Felt the children were used as a bargaining tool
Are still feuding with an ex-spouse even post divorce
Bill Eddy, founder of High Conflict Institute and New Ways for Families program, encourages divorce mediation as the best practice if at all possible. He says, “the mediator calmly demonstrates empathy, respect and neutrality for both parties, despite angry outbursts, surprise events, tears and rigid positions. The intended result is that the parties have less need to defend themselves, they work harder at finding solutions, and they are more committed to their own decisions.” https://www.highconflictinstitute.com/
Divorce conflict is extremely difficult because the relationship has been the most intimate of all your relationships. Two people who once were (and maybe still are) deeply in love often can grow to hate each other with such passion. It is easy for that passion to lead to litigation, due to the conduct and damage during that process may have irreversible effects. When fear and pain are in the driver’s seat of our lives, we react from an emotional position of protection. More often than not, people believe they have to begin a war with one another when facing divorce; however, through the process of divorce mediation there is an alternative.
You can have a different – a better – divorce experience and story to share.
“You are a true credit to your field of mediation and coaching. As a family law attorney I greatly value your skills.”
~Charlotte NC Family Law Attorney
“Thank you for mediating with my wife and myself. This is one of the hardest things we have ever gone through but you made it better with your approach and helping us stay focused on our children.”
“Thank you for your help and support through my difficult times. You were a pleasure for both Bonnie and me to work with over the past 6-9 months. Mediation with you turned out to be a great decision!”
“Your guidance, support, and faith in me when I didn’t know where to turn or who to trust was so valuable to me. I remember how many times you would require of me to refocus and remind me that the divorce process isn’t my healing place. That did in fact come separately. My deepest gratitude.”
“First, let me just compliment you…your demeanor, empathy and kindness is a gift that makes you so perfect for your role. Your presence made me feel at ease (as much as I could be) in this extremely difficult moment in my life. I am thankful we were directed to you to guide us through this process.”