Mediation Can Save You Money

Let’s start with what mediation is not. Mediation is not a legal proceeding and may or may not be required in your state.

Then what is mediation? It is a guided conversation between you and your spouse. The mediator will facilitate the conversation between the two of you but will not become an active part of the conversation. Sounds “new age,” but it’s not. Mediation is what you used to do when you were married and could talk to your spouse. Where to go for dinner, where to spend Thanksgiving this year, how to raise your children, or rules of the house; you talked and resolved the matter between you in a way that, hopefully, you both thought was fair.

What is the goal of mediation? The goal is to help you and your spouse arrive at a solution on how to sell the house, or determine child access, or about the payment of alimony. Remember, it is a conversation that is focused on helping you achieve what’s best for both of you and your family as you begin the transition from your married life.

Will the mediator write a settlement agreement for us? No, the role of the mediator is to foster conversation and guide you both to reaching your own goals based on your personal and specific concerns. The mediator will draft a “term sheet” that lists the areas of agreement between you and your spouse then you will take that term sheet back to your attorney to have it crafted into a settlement agreement.

Why should I do mediation rather than just work with my attorney? Mediation is less costly than attorney’s fees, less adversarial, and should lead to a faster and more equitable solution to the issues surrounding your divorce. The mediator is in addition to your attorney. A mediator cannot represent you in your divorce and all conversations in mediation are confidential and cannot be used in court except as those conversations are represented in the mutually agreed upon term sheet.

How do I find a mediator? Hey Google……. or check with the courthouse or with your attorney for names of mediators in your area. If you can’t afford a mediator, the court may appoint one free of charge if you meet the income guidelines. Otherwise, ask each mediator about their fees. Meet with the mediators and choose the one that you feel will best work with you because personality counts just as much as the fee when selecting a mediator. Generally, mediator fees are split between the two parties.

I do meditation in the Maryland counties of Frederic, Washington, and Montgomery.I am also available for mediation in Northern Virginia.

January Is A New Start Month

When January rolls around,  we think of new beginnings. We make a list of resolutions for the new year. This year along with all of your other resolutions include a few resolutions about your family.

(1) If you are living day to day dreading to go home to an angry or spiteful spouse, then start planning on creating a new life for you. That most likely will mean counseling for you and your spouse (and children since they are casualties of your war) and possibly a divorce.  A bad marriage, or any bad relationship, does not magically get better on its own. No matter what you choose, there will be anger and hurt but you will be able to work through all of those emotions to find a resolution that works well for you.

(2) Plan to spend more time with your children whether they are small or adults. Take your job as a parent seriously because it is a lifetime commitment. AND because your children love you and you love them. If you stay out of their lives, both you and your children lose. I often think of the song “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin- if you don’t have time for your children now, don’t be surprised when they don’t have time for you later.

(3) Be civil to your former spouse. Kindness goes a long way. If you can’t be civil then keep it to “just the facts” and don’t look for another way to wound your Ex. Remember that person is the mother or father of your children. Remember too that once, your Ex was the love of your life- what does that say about your ability to choose a partner wisely if that person is now the spawn of Satan?

(4) Pay your child support and alimony on time every time. It doesn’t do your emotional psyche any good to pay late (especially if that is your sabotage/revenge plan) and can actually give you a physical sickness due to the stress of plotting through anger.  Also, remember that those payments are a court order and you can lose your driver’s and professional licenses if you don’t pay. Child support is just that, money to support your children (they didn’t ask for your marriage to crumble into dust) and your kids deserve the best that you can give them.