Article by: Sharri Freedman
Divorce mediation has been a popular topic since Covid-19. I recently had a consultation with a woman (we will call her Mary) who has been separated from her husband (Roy) since just before stay at home orders were issued. The couple doesn’t communicate well and Mary is feeling pressure from friends and family to file for divorce. She wondered if there was an alternative option and how she would go about discussing this option with Roy.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a non-adversarial process couples use to resolve their divorce disputes. Parties work together with the assistance of a neutral third party to reach an amicable resolution. The mediator facilitates negotiations between spouses but does not make decisions nor provide legal advice to either party. Mediation has always been a good alternative to contentious court battles, but in the age of quarantines, lock-downs, and physical distancing, mediation can also offer a more efficient way to resolve family law disputes.
Most courthouses remain closed and are conducting virtual court hearings on a limited basis. Even when courts reopen, it will be a long time before they are back to business as usual. Until this happens, many people with family law disputes will be left in limbo and at the mercy of the court docket.
You Are In Control
Mediation offers an alternative to long waits for family matters to be resolved. It also allows the parties to have control over the outcome rather than letting a stranger make decisions that will impact their lives for the foreseeable future. The law does not permit judges to exercise creative problem solving. While the law provides a base line where negotiations may start, mediation allows couples to get creative. If one of your goals is to maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship with your soon to be ex-spouse, choosing mediation over a nasty court battle may be a preferable option.
Do I Need A Mediation Coach?
Meeting with a divorce coach before and after mediation sessions helps you organize your thoughts, identify your goals, prepare your questions and strategize for a positive mediation experience. By preparing you for the mediation sessions and coaching you in negotiation strategies, a divorce coach can help you avoid common pitfalls that separating spouses
often face in mediation, such as:
- not understanding your legal rights,
- letting emotion rather than reason guide your decisions, and
- not thinking through and considering the consequences of your decisions.
Communication is a key factor in having a more peaceful divorce experience. For clients who are concerned about discussing mediation as an option with their spouse, a divorce coach can role play conversations, as well as offer tips and tools to ease anxiety and prepare for an efficient
and effective discussion.
With years of family law experience, including training in the Collaborative Process and Mediation, I understand advocacy and the benefits of reaching a durable agreement. As Your Divorce Coach, I can
- help you identify your goals,
- determine what paperwork and information you need prior to mediation,
- address concerns you may have, and
- ensure you are confidently able to advocate on your own behalf.
What I can’t do is provide legal advice, for that you will need to consult a family law attorney licensed to practice law in your State.
** The material appearing in this blog is meant to provide general information only and is not a substitute for nor is it legal advice to you. Readers of this article should seek specific advice from legal counsel of their choice.
Divorce does not have to be emotionally and financially devastating. Having helped individuals navigate relationships and the challenges of divorce for over 25 years, first as a family law attorney and more recently as a CDC Certified Divorce Coach®, Sharri understands the complex legal process and the importance of separating the business of divorce from the emotional aspects of ending a relationship. Whether you are considering divorce, in the middle of divorce, or struggling with post divorce challenges, Sharri’s expert guidance will help you move forward with confidence, clarity & grace.
CDC Certified Divorce Coach ® Directory Listing – https://certifieddivorcecoach.com/user/sharri-freedman/