Divorce Mediation: Things to Split Up

When you decide to get a divorce, trying to divide everything up can feel overwhelming, especially if you aren’t really sure what you need to do. For this reason, it is always a good idea to have a skilled mediator to help you through the process.

Divorce Mediation: Things to Split Up

However, to get started, you are going to need to know about the most common issues that you will need to talk about during your divorce (and through the whole mediation process). These include:

Dividing up your property. Not only will you need to decide who keeps the house and everything in it, you also need to look at your finances. You are going to have to divide up your savings accounts, retirement funds, and much more.

Discuss child custody and visitation. Child custody can be the hardest part of a divorce. Most people don’t want to lose their children. They want them all of the time, even if it isn’t feasible. However, you need to really think about what your children want and need before you decide custody and visitation.

Come up with a good plan for child support. If you aren’t going to be the one who has your children most of the time, you are going to need to help support them. They are your children, and they deserve to live the same way that they did prior to your divorce.

See if you or your spouse is eligible for alimony or spousal support. Alimony and spousal support are often considered the same thing. It is money given to your spouse after your divorce to help him or her get back on his or her feet.

If you have worked so that your spouse could stay home with the children, he or she is still going to need help to continue to do so if you wish. If your spouse was in college and you supported him or her during your marriage, you should consider doing the same afterward. He or she deserves to get the degree that he or she was working so hard for prior to your divorce.

Though you may only think about dividing up your home and splitting up your children, there is a lot of other things that you need to think about during a divorce. You are going to have to split up all of your bank accounts (including your retirement funds). You may also have to consider child or spousal support, depending on your situation.

Contact us to help you through this difficult time.

Tags: meditation
Categories: Blog

Are You a Good Candidate for Online Mediation?

Mediation is a popular alternative dispute resolution tool that allows clients to resolve their disputes informally in a more cost effective and timely manner as opposed to an often lengthy and costly litigation process. Online mediation takes that informal and flexible nature of mediation further, as it is not limited to a geographical reach. All parties involved are able to participate from the comfort of their own chosen location. It is also easier to incorporate online mediation into the hectic day-to-day time constraints most people are navigating. If you see yourself in any of the below mentioned situations, online mediation may be beneficial to you.

Are You a Good Candidate for Online Mediation?

You Are a Busy Professional

If you or your spouse travels or has a stressful work environment, you may find it more helpful to pursue mediation. This prevents either of you taking time away from work to come to mediation sessions, especially when you are already living with the financial strain of ending a marriage.

You Live in Another State

Divorce mediation is made more difficult when one of the spouses has moved far away. You may have been separated for a long time and don’t have the finances or time to come back for the necessary mediation sessions. Online mediation can provide some assistance for people in this situation.

You Are Immobile

Not everybody can easily leave the home, perhaps due to disability or health status. One spouse may be able to make it to an office while the other is at home, connecting to the session via the web.

You Have a High-Conflict Relationship

While mediation is not always right for couples with high levels of conflict, you may be able to undergo online mediation if you feel the process would ease some of the hostility. When you have a professional mediator involved, you may see that he or she can relieve some of the tension.

Virtual mediation offers many benefits you can explore by getting in touch with a professional mediator. Contact us to learn more about mediation and to speak with a professional.

Categories: Blog

Tips to Make Mediation Work

Going through a divorce can be a very stressful process and is filled with a broad range of strong emotions. Often, litigating your divorce can escalate that stress and emotional roller coaster. Divorce mediation is a positive alternative to litigation as this alternative dispute resolution method gives all parties an informal venue to work though difficult issues. It further saves all parties involved a significant amount of time and money. In addition to the flexible and client focused nature of the mediation process, parties who have children involved in their divorce often find that mediation allows them to achieve a more positive, successful and most importantly, sustainable co-parenting plan. Mediation does require all parties involved to be active participants in the process in order for a successful outcome. Here are a few tips to help prepare you for entering into the mediation process.

Tips to Make Mediation Work

That being said, it isn’t always easy. Here are some tips to make mediation work:

Go in with an open mind. 

Go in with the understanding that your participation in the process is essential to it being successful. Mediation is not litigation, it’s an informal open communication process that your mediator will guide you through. The mediator will help you identify, understand, discuss, negotiate and resolve all the issues pertaining to your divorce. The goal of the mediator is to assist you in reaching a settlement agreement that both parties find fair and are able to work with. However, the mediator is not representing any party, providing legal advice, or telling any party involved what decisions to make. The mediator will act as the facilitator, while you and your spouse will work together to navigate the process and reach equitable decisions.

Be willing to compromise.

Mediation is not a tool that can work without the understanding that both parties will need to compromise in order for a fair and equitable agreement to be reached. If your determined to approach the process with a right fighting attitude and are unwilling to compromise, you should reconsider using mediation as an option to resolve your dispute.

Take care of yourself during this difficult time.

Take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally during your divorce regardless if you decide to mediate or litigate. Divorce is a difficult event in life and it can take a serious toll on your overall health and well being. The extreme level of stress that is often experienced when going through a divorce can sometimes mean a loss of sleep, not eating properly and a high level of anxiety. Aside from not being good for your overall health, not taking care of yourself can lead to poor judgement when making decisions. Mediation can help reduce your level of stress as it’s non adversarial approach is designed to create a calm and informal environment that allows each party to be heard and participate in an open discussion in order to reach mutual agreements. It’s important to surround yourself with a good support system of family, friends, and if necessary, medical professionals so that you are able to participate fully in your mediation.

Contact us if you believe that mediation is going to be the best for you.

Categories: Blog

Tips for Co-Parenting During and After Divorce

Even if you have a contentious relationship with your ex (or soon-to-be ex), you likely understand the importance for your children to have two involved parents. This alone might be enough of a motivating factor to convince you to consider co-parenting peacefully, even in the midst of a divorce.

So, what if you don’t get along with your child’s other parent? These tips will help you get through the divorce process while co-parenting effectively.

Tips for Co-Parenting During and After Divorce

Build Strong Communication Skills

Even if you struggle to communicate about the divorce or the assets involved in separation, you may be willing to compromise when it comes to the children. Communicate clearly with each other without using your child as a mediator or messenger. Decide together if you will communicate via text message, email, or phone. When you do communicate with your ex-spouse, avoid discussing custody, visitation, or child support. Some ex-spouses even go to therapy together to learn stronger communication skills, so you may consider going this route too.

Be Consistent When Possible

One of the best things you can do as co-parents is appear united to your children. You can do this by developing a plan of action and sticking to it. A parenting plan is a great way to establish consistency for your children and your ex-spouse. In your parenting plan, you would be wise to mention everything from how you will exchange custody to what rules and punishments you have in your homes.

Consider Mediation with a Professional

Mediation is available to help you establish boundaries, resolve family disputes, distribute property equitably, and reach agreements in such a way that you minimize any detrimental effects on your children. A professional mediator can walk you through the process to set you up for co-parenting success.

Ultimately, one of the best things you can do is remind yourself why you are doing this: your children. You don’t have to rebuild a strong relationship with your ex-spouse, but you can certainly establish the skills you need to co-parent effectively. Mediation can help. Contact us to learn more.

Tags: Mediator
Categories: Blog

With a Good Mediator You Can Divorce Respectfully

Divorcing is hard, especially if you have children. Some look back as years wasted, others see the time as lessons learned. At one time you loved each other, and now perhaps you can’t stand to be in the same room together. This bitterness, resentment, hurt and anger is felt by the children you both love. Before you distress and upset them more than they already are, think about using mediation to resolve your issues.  No one is going to outright win in a divorce. Property and money will have to be divided, child visitation will have to be agreed upon, these are things you know. Why go into a courtroom to fight this out in a public forum? A mediator smooths the way for your children and your future. This salvages a bit of your relationship for your children. They are the ones who will be put in the middle of brooding, disdainful, angry parents. This is parenting at it’s worst.

With a Good Mediator You Can Divorce Respectfully

The Mediator’s Role

  • Define issues
  • Help each side understand the other’s position
  • Move differing parties to resolution

Sounds simple enough, however when tempers are flaring and harsh words are being spoken it is anything but. There may only be one long mediation session, or there may be many meetings with a mediator individually and together. After all, you probably took a while to decide to get married, the dissolution of the marriage may also take some time. The mediator needs to know exactly where each party is coming from, what they want, and how to accomplish that. Mediators do not take sides, that is not their purpose, they see the issue dispassionately and with guidance and negotiation help both sides come to a settlement.

If you are in this situation, contact us to help resolve this painful time of your life.

Tags: Mediator
Categories: Blog

Arbitration vs. Litigation

Arbitration is a lot like mediation but it is not the same thing, it is a form of alternative dispute resolution where the power to decide a dispute is given to the arbitrator. The arbitrator is trained in arbitration and its applicable laws. They listen to arguments from both sides and reach a decision that is binding for both parties.

Arbitration vs. Litigation

When compared to litigation, arbitration offers these advantages:

  • Flexibility

An arbitration proceeding can be organized to suit each parties’ needs. The parties can choose the arbitrator or a group of arbitrators to make the decision in their dispute. An arbitrator can be a lawyer but does not have to be. In fact, the parties have the latitude to choose anyone that they can agree upon.

  • Speed

In most cases, arbitration is a much faster process than litigation. Arbitration will usually follow a more compressed and defined timeline when compared to a courtroom proceeding. In addition, arbitrators typically have lighter caseloads. As a result, parties can make their own schedules. Lighter caseloads also mean that arbitrators can come to a final decision in less time.

  • Simplicity

Litigation is a formal procedure that involves a lot of paperwork along with processes like hearings and depositions. Arbitration can be much simpler without many of the aspects that can complicate litigation.

  • Privacy

Arbitration is private, which means that the public will have no access to documents. Decisions will not be disclosed. In comparison, most filings in court proceedings are made public, including verdicts. While the parties can ask for documents to be sealed, whether they are made public or not is up to the judge and most judges rule on the side of keeping things open.

If you are interested in mediation or other forms of dispute resolution, contact us today. We can help you to decide what is your best option.

Tags: Mediator
Categories: Blog

Using a Mediator Can Make for a Less “Messy” Divorce

Messy divorces make for great celebrity gossip and juicy story lines in movies, but in real life a mediator can make a marital split less traumatic for everyone involved.

Using a Mediator Can Make for a Less "Messy" Divorce

Typically, a divorce begins when one party files a complaint against their spouse in a domestic relations court. Just like other lawsuits, the parties exchange discovery, negotiate vigorously over rights to property, and head to trial if they cannot resolve the issues on their own.  A judge then decides how property will be divided, who will have custody and who will pay support.  Mediation is a less volatile, more private method of accomplishing the same results.

Benefits of Mediation

There are several ways mediation can ease the tension inherent in divorce.

  • Privacy – Court proceedings are mostly public.  In fact, the filing of divorces are often listed in newspapers or legal journals. The hearings are open to the public, unless a judge rules otherwise.  Mediation is a private affair between the two parties and the mediator. It is conducted behind closed doors – not in open court.
  • Children – Mediation shortens the time it takes to get a divorce and places less stress on parents.  When parents have more time and less stress, they can focus on the extra attention children may need to work through the divorce process.
  • Cost – Mediation can lower the costs of divorce, allowing each spouse more resources to start a new life or give support to children.
  • Time – Courtrooms are subject to dockets, the schedule of all cases before a particular judge. Even if your spouse and you agree on everything, you may have to wait until the final hearing can be scheduled.  Mediators are more flexible and are dealing with fewer cases.
  • Control – The spouses are more involved in the mediation process than they would be in court.  They can control what goes into their agreement.

When does mediation begin?

Spouses should begin considering mediation at the start.  Once two people realize their marriage is over, they should discuss the mediation alternative.  Some couples employ mediators before even filing for divorce.  But, if you have already filed, mediation is still an option.  If both parties agree, most courts will temporarily delay divorce actions to allow a couple to try mediation.

Does mediation always work?

Mediation does not work in all cases.  During the process the two parties meet with the neutral mediator and state their positions.  The mediator may come up with a proposed solution, and if both parties agree, then they have a Signed Mediation Agreement to present in court for a smooth divorce.

However, sometimes it just doesn’t work.  The splitting spouses may be too far apart on their views.  One may not want to compromise on a particular issue.  When that happens mediation has failed and the parties need to resort to the conventional divorce process.

Mediation may not always work, but when it does it can shorten the divorce process, save money and reduce the trauma for the spouses and their children.  To learn more about how mediation may work for you in a divorce contact us.  We specialize in mediation, and we can help.

Categories: Blog

Using Mediation to Create a Parenting Plan

Mediation has become a beneficial tool for individuals looking to divorce or establish custody and child support without enduring a grueling legal battle. If you have gone through a divorce or are considering establishing custody for your child, you might consider mediation as a way to create a plan in the most stress-free environment possible. Using mediation to create a parenting plan could be all that is needed.

Using Mediation to Create a Parenting PlanWhat Is a Parenting Plan?

If you intend to share joint legal custody with your child’s other parent, establishing a parenting plan is crucial. With this plan in tow, you can demonstrate to the court that both of you are fit to co-parent the child successfully. Mediation helps you put together this parenting plan.

A parenting plan should provide clear information about physical custody and visitation. You need to create a plan that shows you have all your ducks in a row, creating a low-conflict schedule you are committed to following.

A good parenting plan will also consider the child’s current needs and well-being in addition to how these needs will change one day. Additionally, the best plans include a process for resolving disputes that may pop up with time. A mediator will ensure your plan includes the key components.

How Does Mediation Help Create a Parenting Plan?

In mediation, both parents will discuss their roles and responsibilities in the child’s life. For instance, you will discuss where the child will live, who will provide health insurance, what school the child will attend, and even issues like where the child will attend church services.

One of the biggest benefits of using mediation to create this plan is so you can avoid the courts establishing a plan for you. With mediation, you retain control over the way you want to parent.

Are you ready to work with a mediator? Mediation helps many parents resolve disputes and establish plans that create a better co-parenting relationship. Contact us to learn more about mediation for co-parents.

Categories: Blog

The Benefits of Choosing Divorce Mediation

Going through a divorce can be an extremely stressful and emotional time; however, this time will likely only become more tense if the divorce proceedings go to court and end up becoming drawn-out and expensive. Thus, if you and your spouse are both willing to sit down and discuss your divorce without going through attorneys, then you may want to consider the benefits choosing divorce mediation could provide. Here are just a few of the reasons you should choose mediation if you are going through a divorce.

The Benefits of Choosing Divorce Mediation

Mediation is Quicker

One of the primary benefits of divorce mediation is that it is much quicker than other divorce alternatives. While mediation can still take weeks (or even months in some cases), traditional divorce often leads to litigation that can last months or even years. Mediation then provides the quickest option for you and your spouse to end your marriage in a timely manner.

It Is More Cost-Effective

Another benefit divorce mediation provides is that it is often much cheaper than other avenues of filing for divorce. In fact, compared to the large expenses you can amass hiring a divorce attorney and going to court, mediation could end up saving you as much as 50%. Considering divorce can already be a stressful and expensive time, the money saved by choosing mediation can be a great relief.

Mediation Can Keep Things Peaceful

Tensions between spouses can be extremely high during the divorce process; however, bringing lawyers into the equation often only makes the situation worse. By using the traditional route of going through divorce lawyers to settle your divorce in court, the situation is likely only to escalate as your attorneys fight over every detail of the divorce. Mediation provides a more peaceful alternative where a third-party mediator helps the couple to come to an agreement that will be mutually beneficial, helping to prevent fights, tensions, and long-lasting hurt feelings. Maintaining the peace can be particularly beneficial if you have children as you will likely have to interact with each other in the future.

Going through a divorce can be difficult enough, do not add the additional time, expense, and stress of taking your divorce to court, as many people have found divorce mediation to be a much simpler alternative. Contact us to learn more about mediation and the benefits it can provide.

Tags: Mediator
Categories: Blog

What is Mediation, and is it Right for You?

Mediation refers to a method of resolving a dispute between two parties. It involves a third, neutral party who will facilitate discussions. It is often confused with arbitration, but the two are actually quite different from one another. The mediator is not required to make any decisions, and is only there to help both parties reach a compromise.

What is Mediation, and is it Right for You?

When is Mediation Necessary?

There are certain situations in which mediation is necessary. For example, it may be used in:

  • Small claims court cases
  • Family courts
  • Housing courts
  • Neighborhood justice centers
  • Some criminal court programs

Mediation is intended to be very structured, and the goal is to reach a short-term solution. There may be a lot of bargaining involved, but the presence of the third party allows for less hostile communication.

What Happens After a Decision Has Been Reached?

Once both of the parties have agreed on a compromise, written documents are drawn up and signed. Every jurisdiction has their own laws about how binding a mediation agreement is. But in most cases, the document is admissible in a court of law. It is an enforceable contract.

There are many cases in which a judge will order both of the parties to work with a mediator to come to an agreement. When this occurs, the mediation agreement then becomes a court judgment.

What if a Decision Has Not Been Reached Through Mediation

While most mediation attempts are successful, there are those that fail. When this occurs, the parties must seek to resolve their issues through some other means. This might mean going back to court, as well as a lengthy legal process that follows.

Without knowing your specific case, it is difficult to say whether or not mediation is right for you. It is wise to talk with someone with a lot of experience in this field.

We can help you, and tell you whether or not you should consider mediation for your case. Please contact us today.

Categories: Blog