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How to ‘Zoom’ Your Way to Divorce Through Mediation

Mediation is More than Just a Virtual Reality

We often get asked if divorce mediation can work with busy schedules. And the answer is YES! Did you know that divorce mediation can be conducted anytime from anywhere? Keep reading to find out how…

What is Mediation?

Let’s first talk about what mediation is. You may think of it as a process where you will be forced to talk about your problems and have decisions made for you and your soon to be ex. However, this is not the case! The true definition of mediation is a process where a neutral, third party assists to help resolve conflict. It is a structured, interactive process where you will be encouraged to actively participate. 

With divorce mediation, this usually means a married couple sitting down in a room with the mediator. It’s normally a face-to-face encounter. There may be a computer screen or whiteboard for notes. The meetings can take place during some “off-hours” but are typically held...

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Negotiations in Mediation: Calculating Spousal Support

Negotiations around spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, depending on where you live) are often ripe with emotion. And, it's no wonder. When people reach out to me, they are often worried about what they will be able to afford after the final divorce. Common questions include:

  • Will I be able to stay in my home, or will I have to move?
  • Will I be able to keep my children in the schools where they have friends, or will there be a necessary transition?
  • Will I be able to pay my bills, or will I need to get a second job or go back to work?

Calculating Spousal Support

All of these fears are very common and have to do with money coming in and money going out. But unfortunately, calculating spousal support is not cut and dry in most jurisdictions. Most jurisdictions don't offer a spousal support calculator.

For most families, there is not sufficient income to support two households that are similar to the marital standard of living without increasing income. As a...

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Can Pre-Mediation Coaching Really Make a Difference?

It is my pleasure to welcome our latest guest blogger, Karen Dorsey. Karen is sharing some important information about a service often overlooked - pre-mediation coaching. Often those seeking mediation are looking to save money and aren't willing to consider additional services. However, some of those cost savings measures could cost you more in the long-run.

Pre-mediation is an excellent example of an investment that is well worth your time and money. It helps you to make the best use of your mediation sessions. While I (and I believe most other mediators) offer pre-mediation coaching on an informal basis for all my clients choosing mediation, Karen provides a more formal approach (described below), which could be especially helpful in high conflict cases.

Can Pre-Mediation Coaching Make a Difference?

Are you and your spouse deciding on whether or not to go to mediation?

Is your attorney recommending mediation instead of a costly court battle?

Is the court in your state...

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How to Ask Your Spouse to Mediate Your Divorce

You've decided you want to try mediation but you aren't sure how to ask your spouse to mediate your divorce. I get it. When your marriage is ending, and both of you are going your separate ways, it can be hard to be on the same page about anything, much less mediation. Use the following tips to help you ask (and convince) your spouse to mediate the divorce.

Be prepared.

As with anything, preparation is critical. While you don't need to be an expert on mediation, having enough background knowledge to understand why it interests you is essential. Do some research ahead of time. You might be able to find all you need to know with a simple online search, but if you are missing information, contact a professional for those details.

Communicate carefully when asking your spouse to mediate your divorce

Once you have the details about mediation, you must communicate carefully with your spouse. Keep in mind that you may both be reeling from the changes taking place, so this is a great time...

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How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?

When I first meet with couples seeking mediation for their divorce, I find that many have the same questions. One common question is how long divorce mediation will take to complete. It's a tough question to answer since there are many factors that contribute to the completion of divorce mediation. I'll share the factors that I consider to have an impact.

6 Factors that Determine How Long Divorce Mediation Takes

Most of the divorce mediations that I handle take two to four, two-hour mediation sessions to resolve all the issues that need to be resolved. This is after we meet together for a mediation orientation session. In the orientation, I discuss the mediation process and both parties sign the agreement to mediate. Additionally, by the time we start mediation I have had the opportunity to meet with each party individually to discuss their goals and concerns. Here are the six factors that I have noticed will determine how long divorce mediation takes.

How long you've each...

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Divorce Mediation Tips for Handling Your Emotions

Your spouse cheated. He or she is leaving you for someone else. Perhaps you've argued for years and just finally had enough. Regardless of the reason, for the vast majority of cases, divorce is emotional. People are emotional. Deciding how your life will be after a divorce is emotional.

Unfortunately, making sound decisions while emotions are running high doesn't work. When we get emotional, we stop thinking rationally, which can lead us to do and say things that we will regret later. It's easy to blow up an important part of the settlement agreement by letting anger and frustration get the better of you. When emotions take over, we stop listening to the other person and focus on the feelings instead of the goals we have for the negotiation. Here are some divorce mediation tips to consider when emotions are running high.

7 Divorce Mediation Tips for Success

So, how do you stay unemotional in a situation that is going to have such a big impact on your future? Use the...

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The Best Kept Secret of Mediation

While often considered the kinder approach to divorce compared to traditional litigation, the benefits of mediation go far beyond those simply looking for a "nicer" approach. The best kept secret of mediation is that it is actually the couples with more conflict who can see the greatest benefit from mediation.

Those who are experiencing higher degrees of conflict will see the highest litigation-related expenses. The litigation process itself often heightens conflict. You do not have to be on the same page with respect to your settlement in order to try mediation. In fact, mediation is designed specifically to help you get on the same page. You do, however, have to share a commitment to the process.

Checklist: Is mediation right for you?

Here is a checklist to help you determine if mediation would be an appropriate process for settling the terms of your divorce. You and your spouse do not have to agree to everything on the list but if there are several items on the list that do not...

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5 Mediation Strategies to Get What You Want

I strongly believe in the benefits of choosing mediation for your divorce but it's also important to understand the challenges and prepare for those. The decisions made in mediation can significantly impact your life for years to come. With that in mind, it can be easy to become overwhelmed during the session if you are not adequately prepared. Likewise, you can make agreements that may not be in your best interest if you are simply tired and worn out from the mediation. These simple mediation strategies can help you get what you want from your divorce settlement.

Keep these strategies in mind to make the most of your mediation

#1 Take Time to Reflect Ahead of Time

Spend some quiet time thinking about what you want and what you need.  Write your thoughts down on paper and read it aloud.  This process helps you organize your thoughts, identify your priorities and set realistic expectations.  Take this paper with you to mediation.  If you are...

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Bridge the Divide: Negotiations in Mediation

The anger in the room was palpable. I was sitting at a round table with a husband and wife who had chosen to use mediation as a way to come to terms on their divorce agreement. According to the wife, the husband had been unfaithful several times throughout their marriage. According to the husband, the two had not been intimate for many years. Regardless of why the couple was now facing the end of their marriage, in order for negotiations in mediation to be productive, we needed to find ways to bridge the divide between them. It's not uncommon for years of disappointment and frustration to come to a head when couples are going through a divorce. Often, it's the reason that individuals think that they cannot mediate their divorce settlement.

 

Negotiating the Nonnegotiable

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a continuing education program on this very topic. Dr. Daniel Shapiro of the Harvard International Negotiation Program presented...

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Shared Parenting Plan Checklist

I often find myself sitting in mediation with couples who are looking for guidance when it comes to creating a parenting plan. The beauty of mediation is that you can create a parenting plan that is going to work best for your children and your family. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing. That said, there are certain elements that, from a practical standpoint, you may want to address. Here is a parenting plan checklist of items to consider.

Related post: What is Divorce Mediation?

What is a Shared Parenting Plan?

Before I get ahead of myself, what is a Shared Parenting Plan? It's a written document that details how you will co-parent. If you take the time to think through future parenting challenges that may arise, it can take a lot of stress out of co-parenting. It's like a guidebook that you created for yourselves. When we discuss your plans for shared parenting in mediation, you can determine how detailed to get. There is a Shared Parenting...

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