Why Divorce Mediation Works
When you hear the word “mediation,” what do you think of? Most people connect it to making peace or compromising or resolving a conflict with the help of someone. Mediation is used for working through many topics such as international problems, labor disputes, church conflicts, and eldercare and family issues.
Increasingly, people are also connecting mediation to divorce mediation, which is the focus of my practice. Divorce mediation is a settlement process for couples who want to end their relationship without using the court system. It gives you and your spouse the option to stay in charge of your futures in an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect.
Divorce mediation provides an opportunity for couples to end their marriages in an efficient, affordable, and gentle manner. Most couples are not on the same psychological page about ending their marriage. Each person is scared and often hurt or angry. However, when you both are well-informed, you are able to make decisions, and often repair a portion of the relationship that allows you to go forward.
The Goal of Divorce Mediation
During the mediation process, the two of you review all the information, work through your issues, evaluate your options, and choose how to move forward. Then those decisions are written into a durable, lasting, and fair agreement custom-made for both of you and your family.
This document is called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). When completed, the MOU is ready to be processed into the legal system. Clients can use one neutral attorney to process the papers, or each person can have their own separate review attorney. Again, the decision is yours.
The Divorce Mediator’s Role
I have to admit being a mediator is both an art and a science. A mediator needs to listen, facilitate, inform, and understand “divorce math” while all the time remaining neutral. It is a balancing process that requires skills and on-going training. I am proud to have earned the professional designation of Advanced Practitioner Mediator after a rigorous process of review and observation.
With the assistance of a trained divorce mediator like me, you will be guided to answer questions that are custom-made for your family, your finances and your future. I make sure that you both are well-informed.
For example, my process takes you both through a series of orderly steps to create a fair and reasonable agreement. I help you understand the issues that need to be discussed, gather and analyze the necessary information, and communicate effectively with each other.
What You Discuss in Divorce Mediation
If you and your spouse have children, they are the first priority. We work together to create a parenting plan. We also work through how each of you will be able will be able to afford a comparable environment for your children.
Then we talk about finances and arrangements concerning the house (or other home the family currently resides in), retirement assets, debts, health insurance, life insurance, and taxes as well as any other relevant issues.
How the Divorce Mediation Process Works
You both meet with me in a series of sessions. The number of sessions can vary. To keep the process moving forward, the focus is on making the decisions needed to bring this phase of your relationship to a close.
Each of you is expected to gather together and bring all information and paperwork concerning financial and other issues to the sessions as needed.
Divorce Mediation Versus Couples’ Therapy
I am often asked whether mediation is the same as couples’ therapy. While it’s true that there are similarities, each has a different focus. Usually, couples’ therapy focuses on issues with the goal of continuing your relationship. In divorce mediation, the focus is on resolving the practical and financial issues of dissolving the relationship.
Even so, the magic of mediation is that it can balance the emotional and practical issues. The opportunity for healing and understanding makes mediation very effective and the agreements more durable. The clients are not rushed through the process; I insure the pace supports the needs of both people.
Going through a divorce is a difficult emotional, practical, and financial process. As a guide, I have helped many couples cross this scary bridge from marriage to independence. Together, we navigate the maze to efficiently and affordably bring your marriage or partnership to a close.
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