Divorce Mediators: One size does NOT fit all
We get multiple bids from contractors to help us with renovations. We test-drive several cars before we purchase one. We would never embark on a vacation without doing a little research first.
So, it would make sense that when it comes to something as sensitive as divorce, we should ensure we find the right fit for our needs.
Mediators come with different backgrounds and levels of experience. Some have a background in social work, psychology, and family systems. Some have experience with financial services or legal expertise. Depending on the various issues in your own case, you will want to fully understand the prospective mediator’s background and experience as it relates to you and what will best suit your situation and personality.
In an article on Mediate.com, they suggest you ask the following questions when looking for a mediator:
1. How has your education and experience prepared you to help us work out this specific dispute?
2. Do you participate in continuing education, on-going supervision, or consultation?
3. What values and goals do you emphasize in your practice?
4. Which ethical standards do you follow, and may I obtain a copy of those standards?
5. Do you have a prior relationship with any of the parties or their attorneys?
6. Can you please explain your confidentiality agreement?
7. How would you estimate costs for this case?
“It’s important to work with a mediator that, at the very least, has a 40-hour certificate demonstrating the basic mediation skills,” says Deb Johnson with Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado. “It’s also crucial to work with someone who truly wants the best outcome possible.”
How Do I Tell Him?
Telling your spouse you want a divorce can be very scary and overwhelming, yet you know you have to do it and do it soon before things worsen. This is an important stage of the divorce process as it can serve to set the tone of creating a healthy the divorce. Yes, it may be that your relationship has deteriorated to the point that every time you try to have a conversation it ends in a battle. But, it is important to step back and map out a plan for this initial conversation:
- Pick a time and a place to have a face-to-face conversation. A coffee shop or restaurant is probably not the place. (Note: if there is any fear of abuse, mental or physical, consult a professional to assist with this planning).
- Be calm, direct and clear. Take time to write out the ‘why’s’ behind your decision so you can calmly present them. Don’t back down or waiver as you are sending mixed signals to your spouse.
- Be prepared for your spouse’s possible reaction to this conversation. Take time to write out the possibilities and plan how to handle each situation.
- Expect a reaction from your spouse and observe the reaction through the lens of empathy.
- Allow time and patience for the reaction, then reiterate your request. There will be many ups and downs-just hold on-the reality of the situation will take time to digest
- Take it slow when winding down the conversation—don’t threaten with hiring attorneys or putting the house on the market. Rather, acknowledge that both of you need time to process the situation and the next steps. Discuss the possibility of setting a time for a follow up conversation
- Surround yourself with support! You’ll need to check your own emotions, those of your children, begin planning this major life transition, and remain strong and committed. Many professionals (therapists, divorce coaches, divorce financial analysts, mediators and attorneys) are there to guide you through the difficult process of divorce; and empower you to make decisions that align with your goals and dreams for your life after divorce.
The Gray Divorce & The Unique Challenges
DID YOU KNOW...
- There has been 64% increase in divorces among couples aged 50+ who are backed up to retirement.
- Much less time to make up for decisions not well made at divorce time.
- 60% of divorces over 40 are initiated by women.
- There is not one financial approach with the Gray divorce. Important to work with divorce consultants who understand the unique challenges, such as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA).
- Maturity + Age does not = financial literacy. Education is critical at this major life transition.
- Ethnicity and culture, men, and women all require a different approach to dividing their marital estate and help create future financial security.
- P-A-T-C-H = Payment Structure, Amount, Time, Changes in Health – Applies to spousal support.
- Future budget and health insurance are very sobering and critical to plan for financial security, post-divorce.
- Among the top reasons for divorce later in life:
- Empty nest – couple realizes they no longer have much in common
- Recognizing their mortality – want more from life
- Cultural differences
- Rediscovering sexuality
- Health issues with one spouse or the other
Thinking About Divorce?
Here's what you need to know about mediation.
If you’re at the beginning of the divorce process or if this is something you’re considering in the future, it’s important to know all the facts. You might be wondering how to begin the process, what information you’ll need to bring with you when talking to a divorce professional, and how to move forward.
At Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado we believe it’s important for you to be educated about the process of mediation; knowing what’s ahead will hopefully alleviate some of the fear of the unknown, the stress you might be feeling, and make you feel less overwhelmed with the process.
Let’s get started
Before the commencement of any divorce action, it is necessary for all parties to fully disclose all their financial information. Once retained, DRCC provides our clients with the following:
~ A checklist of all financial disclosures they will be responsible for gathering.
~ A spending plan that looks toward what finances and cash flow will look like after divorce and into the future.
Your Guiding Principles
Prior to forging ahead with the mediation process, it is important for everyone to spend some time setting an intention on what they want the outcome of their divorce to look like. While much of what we assist with is your comprehensive financial picture, there are other outside components that help us piece together a plan that will benefit both you and your family.
Some questions you might ask yourself when determining your guiding principles are:
~ Is it important to have an amicable and dignified divorce so that we can successfully co-parent for years to come?
~ What does a “healthy divorce” mean to you?
~ What are the children’s best interests?
It’s also important to be aware of any triggers you might have concerning your spouse. Do those triggers involve money? Parenting styles? Family? By identifying these issues, you are more aware of how you react when they come up; that makes it easier to keep those guiding principles in mind.
By being an active participant in the mediation process, your chances of creating an outcome that both parties can agree with are greater. Negotiated agreements have many benefits over a judge’s ruling: they take less time, they reduce the financial and emotional carnage, and parties to the agreement are more likely to honor and enforce what has been decided.
The Divorce Resource Center of Colorado is committed to changing the way our society divorces. We envision divorce to be a process that does not end with a Decree, but one that is a catalyst for change that leads to new beginnings. Our goal is to provide resources that will empower clients in each and every step of their journey through the difficult life transition of divorce and beyond.