Mediating with Sandra Lee
I am a non-attorney mediator who has been mediating divorce negotiations since the year 2000. I mediate divorces with and without attorneys present as well as co-mediating with attorneys. As of recent, I have done over 500 divorces. I still wish the best for a couple who can find resolutions for their marital difficulties and stay married but when that doesn’t happen I absolutely believe that mediation is practical and healthier alternative to most other divorce process options.
I have earned the trust and respect of the most successful attorneys and law firms in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Lake Norman area. As a result, I am also the most referred to non-attorney mediators in the area. How that benefits you? I am involved with so many cases where the talented and skilled attorneys are also on the case which provides me the opportunity to learn from the best. I don’t offer you legal advice but I also know when to raise my hand say, “you really should consult with an attorney, certified divorce financial analyst, a child specialist, and so on.”
I have been one of the early members since the inception of the Mecklenburg Collaborative Professional Law Group since 2003 where I served on the board for eight years. I still remain an active voice and participant in this group today. As an advanced mediator and divorce coach I offer a set of skills that unique in assisting couples in reaching a satisfactory resolution in their divorce.
I began this path as a mediator and coach because of my own life experience. I was riddled with fearful emotions, uneducated about the divorce process and overwhelmed by the daunting situation before me. Since my own divorce, I have been passionately committed to working with couples to find a better way to divorce without destroying one another and their children through the process.
How will we work together?
- I will facilitate the mediation sessions (usually 2.0 hours per session) in one of my two office locations (Lake Norman area and Charlotte).
- During the initial session we will discuss an overview of the mediation process, the fees, and your preparation and answer your questions.
- I do not learn about your divorce story until we meet together. This allows both parties to trust they will have their own time to be heard and share their perspective without feeling that the other party has somehow had the opportunity to move my neutrality to be more on “their” side. There are no sides. I remain neutral.
- Mediating with Sandra is confidential.
- I understand communication has often broken down when a marriage is dissolving. I will help facilitate communication between you both and make sure that you each are given an equal opportunity to be heard and understood.
- I will provide safety, control, and order during the mediation process. As your mediator, I will balance the power between you and your spouse if that is a concern.
- Because of my extensive experience, education and skills I am a highly effective negotiator and qualified to lead a couple through the process.
- After you both share your opening statements, I will begin asking more questions to define the issues and clarify your needs and concerns and to formulate a plan as to where we need to begin the process and with what issues. This also allows us to figure out what information you will need to be gathering and commit to bringing to a future meeting.
- Negotiating agreements isn’t always linear. We may start at what feels like the end, and you may find yourself needing to gather still more information at various points in the process. I will help you stay on track and brainstorm options, will encourage you and your spouse to express your opinions, positions, and what’s important to you, and will help you to listen to each in ways that will make a resolution more likely.
- At the end of the mediation I will create a Memorandum of Understanding and a Parent Plan (if you have children).
- We will work hard together to create a Parenting Plan that reflects your goals and hopes for your children and what is in their best interest as they live forward in a divorced family. When parents live in separate homes, the challenges are greater and more complicated. A written parenting plan provides you and your children with predictability and consistency and can prevent future conflict. We will also work to redefine the roles, responsibilities and the way you two will communicate as co-parents. I tell all the parents I work with, “the best indicator of how well your children will fare through the divorce is to the level of the conflict of their parents.” Children do best when their parents cooperate with each other.
- I have negotiated settlements where the marital estate is very small and the parties need every penny on the table. I have also negotiated settlements with multi-million dollar estates, business that need valuing, and complicated financial plans.
- We will address components unique to your separation/divorce.
- My goal is always to help you find a mutually agreeable and workable resolution that will last.
I have found two important things you can do to make mediating with Sandra successful:
- To be open to compromise.
- To really listen and try to understand your spouse’s point of view.
Understanding your spouse’s position doesn’t mean you have to agree with it. But it’s possible that once you do understand your spouse’s real concerns are, you will have new ideas about how to resolve things. Your efforts at understanding will encourage your spouse to do the same, and you are more likely to reach a solution that works for you if your spouse really understands what is important to you.
Being open to compromise means that you are not attached to one particular solution; it doesn’t mean you will be taken advantage of. A compromise that works is one that takes both of your interests into account. The goal will be to listen to your spouse before rejecting their position. It is possible to reach a “win-win” solution.
Fees and appointments:
I no longer can offer free initial consultations beyond a brief phone call. I would spend so much of my time having these appointments and it wouldn’t allow for the time to be available to work with my clients. We will have our initial meeting and determine if we are a good “fit” for one another to work through the process.
I will discuss my fees at the time you call or when we meet.