Reaching Agreements with Divorce Mediation
Mediation is appropriate when people have different views and wish to work productively towards an agreement. Most people who are divorcing need some help focusing on what needs to be addressed, understanding the options, and in staying on track. Mediation is a voluntary and private approach to reaching resolutions with the assistance of a neutral mediator. The mediator provides the structure and helps you work through the challenges and questions; you make the decisions. As an experienced divorce mediator, I keep the conversation on track, organize and analyze your financial information, and help you understand the possibilities for addressing your goals and concerns. This allows you to discuss and address your concerns and make sound agreements.
Many Seattle-area couples find mediation to be an efficient and effective way to make financial and parenting decisions, and thereby reach agreements in their divorce. The mediator does not make decisions for you, but manages and directs the conversation, and offers a structure that is conducive to gaining understanding, prioritizing what’s important, and resolving differences.
My background as mediator is unique. For years, I have taught other professionals how to help people reach agreements based on their priorities and goals. I bring my skills as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® to the discussion, to help you understand the real-world financial impacts of your financial choices. I have over 30 years of family law legal experience, and extensive experience working hands-on with complex legal questions involving businesses, real estate, taxation, and other issues. I have received education in post-divorce co-parent coaching and have years of experience working with families to help you with your post-divorce co-parenting decisions.
The Mediation Process
When I work as mediator, we focus on identifying the questions that need to be addressed, discuss what is important to each of you, and work towards solutions. It’s key that everyone has a good understanding of the situation. Each mediation has “big picture” implications—the impact of the dispute itself on you and your family, and the impact of proposed solutions. We focus on both.
Each mediation is different, because the needs of different people are different. The typical process starts off with setting the foundation for working together, and understanding each of your priorities. If something urgent needs to be discussed (for example, moving out or telling the children about divorce), we can prioritize those items so they get addressed first.
We then share information to gain a solid understanding of the resources available to address your priorities prior to drilling down to the nuts and bolts. I generally prepare a financial illustration to help keep the financial discussion organized.
As part of mediation, we reach agreements about how to allocate property and debt, decide on support, consider tax consequences of different choices, and reality-test scenarios, so you can make good decisions for yourself and your family. If you have children, we can discuss co-parenting considerations and use those as a basis to help you create a good co-parenting relationship and Parenting Plan for your future.
Mediation: Working Together
Mediation involves working together in same room to discuss important questions. If you and your spouse are up to doing that productively, mediation can be an excellent fit. Important to success is the willingness of all to commit to working together to find solutions, and an ability to maintain common courtesy while openly discussing concerns and important questions. This means that you are an active participant. You will be expected to share your concerns and goals, to listen carefully to each other, and to give each other the freedom needed to reach an agreement that can be acceptable to both of you.
Mediators in Washington State are prohibited from preparing legal documents to formalize the divorce agreements and for court. As part of my services, I prepare a Memorandum of Understanding that provides the details of my understanding of all agreements you have reached.
The Memorandum of Understanding is designed to simplify preparing the legal documents, whether you have them prepared by an attorney or prepare them yourselves. For a divorce, court involvement is limited to the formality approving the agreements you have reached.
For those wishing to have the documents prepared and the court formalities handled by an attorney (highly recommended!), or simply wish to get some legal advice along the way, I can provide you with referrals. Mediation can be an excellent way to keep legal fees contained, because the lawyers are not present—they assist you only at the times when they are needed.
I provide mediation and facilitation that concern a wide array of family law and other questions, including:
Property and debt division;
Marital and Relationship Mediation;
Family Mediation (Family Disputes);
Partnership and Business Disputes; and
Most other types of disputes, whether between people, organizations, businesses, or government. Our office is designed to provide a comfortable, safe, and neutral place for people in which to have productive discussions about issues that matter.
For More Information About Mediation in Seattle
If you are interested in learning more about the divorce (or other) mediation, or other facilitation, contact us at (206) 622-6707 or fill out the form on this page.