Mediation has been around for decades. It was first used to resolve business conflicts and soon after became popular for divorces as well. Joan and Doug believe that mediation offers the best and most cost effective option for a vast majority of couples and parents. Mediation offers the parties the chance to keep the decision making power themselves rather than having third parties make decisions for them. Mediation allows for a quicker and a more lasting resolution to separation and divorce issue.
The alternative for parties is litigation where the Court decides issues for them, or going through the more complicated collaborative process. Both Joan and Doug have active law practices and, in fact, do litigate divorce cases. They are also trained in and participate in collaborative divorce practice for clients where mediation may not be appropriate.
At A SMARTER DIVORCE Joan and Doug use their combined experience and the skills to help the parties reach a creative, personalized resolution. Their team approach strives to help each family meet its own unique challenges by including other professionals (child development specialists, tax experts, real estate appraisers, mortgage lenders) as needed and desired by the parties. The divorce period is a difficult emotional time for both the parties and for the children (even if they are older). Joan and Doug strongly believe that mediation allows families to avoid much of the stress of litigation and the anxiety of a drawn-out legal process. Additionally, the team mediation model of A SMARTER DIVORCE has the added benefit of including professionals in child development, when useful, to help the parties resolve custody and other child related issues. Many clients have found the inclusion of child specialists in the mediation process has helped them make better informed decisions regarding their children during this challenging time in their children’s lives.
Simply put: conflict costs money. At A SMARTER DIVORCE Mediation Services we attempt to reduce conflict and help the parties resolve their issues in the most cost effective manner. Mediation is an efficient process allowing for many cost-saving measures. Sometimes a neutral financial expert is brought into the mediation process to provide the parties will the information they need to reach a mutual and durable resolution to their financial issues.
We have provided a chart which compares and contrasts the mediation and court processes. Probably the most important aspect of the chart is the aspect of keeping control of property division and any parenting agreement. In a litigated divorce before a Judge, the parties have a handful of hours to tell the Judge what they think is fair and what needs to be divided. After the trial, the parties put all of the control in the hands of a Judge, who only knows what he allows into evidence under specific court rules. Under the mediation model, the parties, who know their situation much better than anyone can learn in a few hours, come up with an agreement to meet both their own needs and the needs of the children.
Mediation is also a process that will help parents or parties in other aspects of their lives. Couples involved in divorce have often had difficulty communicating or feel that they have not been heard by the other. While mediation is not therapy, the skills learned in the mediation process (creative problem solving, prioritizing, communication skills) can be used for solving the present issues and again if conflict comes up in the future. Many of the tools learned through mediation can help parents modify their initial agreement as their needs and their children’s needs change over the years.