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Parenting Mediation: Five Tips for Success

baby with parents fingerParenting Mediation for Custody and Visitation Disputes

For many parents, making decisions about child custody and parenting can be the toughest part of a separation or divorce. Some divorcing parents also have to deal with multiple financial issues, such as spousal support or division of marital property. Others can resolve such matters fairly simply. Parents who have never been married generally have the easiest time separating financially. Regardless of these differences, however, the emotional aspects of physically dividing a family into two can be devastating. Parenting mediation can be a great forum for parents to air concerns and resolve anxieties while working together to build a successful post-relationship parenting plan. Read more

How to Address Power Imbalances in Divorce Mediation

Hand with dollar banknote
In our two most recent posts, we addressed certain safeguards that may improve mediation’s effectiveness when there is a higher than average level of conflict between participants, including considering a structured mediation process, and taking advantage of pre-mediation coaching. Today we will look at another common aspect of high-conflict divorce mediation: the existence of “power imbalances.” How do power imbalances tend to show up in divorce mediation, and what can mediation participants expect from a mediator in terms of safeguarding against the possibility that a power imbalance might sabotage a potentially successful mediation? Read more

Could You Benefit from Pre-Mediation Coaching?

ground-rules.jpgIn our most recent post, we discussed how some divorcing couples might want to take advantage of a more structured mediation process. We mentioned pre-mediation coaching as one aspect of such a process. So what exactly is pre-mediation coaching, who offers it, and who might possibly benefit from it?

What is Pre-Mediation Coaching?

In pre-mediation coaching, a prospective mediation participant meets with the mediator or another professional to prepare for the mediation. The main goals of the preparation are alleviating anxiety regarding the mediation process, rehearsing good communication techniques, and building comfort with the idea of formulating proposals and counter-proposals. Role-playing with a coach can help the participant prepare for issues that may arise during the mediation and practice skills that will help the participant stay on track. These skills include not taking the other party’s positions personally, slowing down and responding logically, and maintaining a focus on the facts and issues at hand. Read more

Choosing Mediation in a High-Conflict Divorce

Frayed Rope about to BreakHave you been considering divorce mediation for a while, but you just aren’t convinced that you and your difficult soon-to-be-ex would make good candidates? Attorneys and judges don’t always recommend mediation for couples who have experienced high levels of relationship conflict. There is a risk that one or both spouses will not approach the process with a collaborative attitude, and will instead refuse to compromise on anything, or worse, will just use the mediation sessions to vent anger and frustration. Read more

Divorce Mediation up Close and Personal – Derek and Stacey, Part III

DivorceIn our first installment we discussed the events leading up to Derek and Stacey’s decision to participate in divorce mediation. In the second installment, we looked in on their first session. Now let’s see how things are working out for them during session number two. Read more

5 Tips For Making Your Mediation Session A Success

win-win concept

You hired a family law mediator and set the first meeting date. Now what? Here are five ways to make sure mediation sessions fulfill their purpose of helping you and your spouse arrive at divorce settlement terms both of you consider fair and equitable. Trying to resolve your divorce with a minimum wrangling and discord? Here’s how to make the divorce mediation process work for you: Read more

Domestic Violence or Abuse and Divorce Mediation

Domestic Violence Word Cloud ConceptIn honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we’re taking a look at a common question about divorce mediation:

Is mediation ever appropriate when a couple has experienced domestic violence or abuse?

Some mediators would unequivocally say no. Mediation assumes that parties will keep each other’s best interests in mind and seek solutions that provide maximum benefit to both. Abuse creates a serious power imbalance and implies that an abuser is unwilling or unable to place any importance on the needs and wants of the other party.

This response is not entirely satisfactory, however, because it leaves an abused party with litigation as the only alternative. Is this really better? Read more

Child Custody Mediation: Some Common Concerns and a Checklist

child custody mediationDisagreements about child custody and visitation are often the most emotionally challenging aspect of a divorce for parents. Sometimes both parents want primary residential custody, and sometimes one parent wants to share parenting time equally while the other does not. A less common, but often very challenging situation is that one parent wants to drastically limit the other’s visitation time and decision-making authority due to some type of concern regarding the latter’s parenting ability.

When is mediation a good vehicle for attempting resolution of these kinds of issues? Read more

“Conscious Uncoupling” and Other Not-So-Legal Terms in Divorce

credit: goop.com

photo credit: goop.com

If you follow celebrity news, you no doubt have heard about the “conscious uncoupling” between Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. If you are going through an “uncoupling” process yourself, you may be wondering what exactly it means to make it “conscious.” Since you are reading this blog, you may also be wondering how the concept of conscious uncoupling fits into the divorce mediation process. Read more

Four Tips to Keep in Mind When Negotiating in Divorce Mediation

Couple meeting with divorce mediatorNegotiating with a soon-to-be-ex can be enormously challenging. You could be facing decisions that will have a long-term impact on many aspects of your life. Add to this the fact that divorcing spouses often share history that includes rough emotional terrain, and the whole idea can start to feel like too much to handle. If you need motivation to persevere, remember that unless you and your spouse can resolve your differences amicably, you will eventually find yourselves in front of a judge—letting a stranger make decisions for you that will not necessarily be any better than the decisions you could reach on your own with a bit of concerted effort.  Read more