Frequently Asked Questions
The end of a marriage often feels like a failed dream. Both parties are usually very hurt, and if children are part of the family, they can suffer, too. Divorce is one of life's most traumatic transitions.
The traditional route towards divorce involves each party hiring an attorney to represent his/her own best interests. In our system, this means each party has engaged someone to "win" for them--and the negotiations are
almost always confrontational. When most divorces are finalized, one party may feel they have won while the other party may feel they have lost. Sometimes, a judge will impose a settlement that leaves both parties
unhappy, but they must follow the court's decision.
Mediation is different. It's not about winning or losing--it's about working out a solution for everyone involved.
Why choose mediation?
Mediation is an alternative route towards divorce that often makes the experience less confrontational. In mediation, both spouses meet with a mediator, and build a mutually satisfactory settlement arrangement together. Even if the parties are hostile to each other, a settlement that meets emotional and financial needs can usually be found. In fact, mediation can lay the groundwork for a sustained and workable interaction between the two for what is often a lifelong, post-divorce relationship.
Mediation almost always results in a more civil relationship between the divorcing individuals. But there is an even greater benefit to the children of the marriage. Children almost always experience divorce negatively, but
the trauma can often be minimized if they see their parents respectfully working toward a common goal.
Another benefit of mediation is reduced cost. Mediators typically charge less per hour than attorneys and there are generally fewer billed hours. After an initial free consultation with your mediator, a two-hour mediation costs
2 hours of time. With an attorney, that same conversation would cost significantly more given the need for two attorneys (one for each spouse), plus billable hours spent conversing with the client and opposing counsel.
What does a mediator do?
The mediator is a neutral person who helps the parties come to a settlement. Mediators use their skills to channel emotions during the mediation meetings, and help both parties to focus and move forward. Mediators ask clients to focus on the most important issues (such as the well-being of the children) and also points out hidden issues
which the couple must resolve.
Does the mediator handle the whole divorce?
The mediator facilitates the couple coming to an agreement. This agreement is then summarized in a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU").
An attorney then converts the MOU into a legal Separation Agreement. It is usually recommended that each party have a separate mediation-friendly attorney to review the Separation Agreement. The review attorney's role is not to 'rubber stamp' the agreement, but to read it on behalf of his/her client. At that point, one of the attorneys files the separation agreement with the courts.
How can mediation help my family?
Sometimes parents and children (especially teenagers) have difficulty communicating or setting boundaries. When children become teens and start asserting their independence, curfews, friendships, and jobs can create
conflicts. So can issues that seem less serious, such as where to take the family vacation.
Mediation helps you sort out the future in the best way possible for you, your partner, children, parents, and any other family members involved in your life.
Why choose me as your mediator?
I know how well mediation works. My own divorce was mediated, and I have first-hand knowledge of the benefits that result from mediating differences. My daughters have adjusted well as the children of parents who
chose mediation, especially when compared to others whose parents struggled through a litigated divorce.
Mediation has been helpful in other parts of my life as well. I worked on a University campus for most of my career and was President of the faculty/staff union for almost 10 years. During this time I mediated many of the issues that came across my desk. It was clear that mediating differences was far more effective than filing grievances. I also found that getting my PhD in Biology provided me with problem solving skills that facilitated
solutions to seemingly impossible differences.
Five years ago, I became a divorce mediator so that I could offer couples the support and empathy they need while navigating one of life's most difficult events. I am proud to have helped many couples and I am ready to help you, too.
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