5 Obstacles to an Effective Divorce Mediation

Generally, mediation works best when both parties are ready to divorce and move forward. Mediation is not appropriate in every situation and a good mediator will not take your case if he or she believes that your situation will worsen or not have a successful outcome.

Here are a few obstacles to an effective divorce mediation:

  1. Mental illness or drug/alcohol abuse: Mediators have a duty to screen folks that are unable to make decisions for themselves, including mental health issues or drug or alcohol abuse.
  2. Not in “Same Place”:  Meaning one spouse wants a divorce but the other spouse is not ready or would like to work on the marriage. A mediator may refer you to another professional such as a divorce coach or counselor to help you decide whether it is time to move on before mediating.
  3. Power imbalance: When there is a severe power imbalance, domestic abuse or threat of domestic abuse, (including PFA). Even if there is no physical danger involved, the threat of psychological danger would cause difficulties for one of the parties involved to reach a fair agreement. A mediator will refer you to an attorney or other professional to guide you through this process.
  4. High conflict personality:  Divorce mediation may not work if there is a “high conflict personality” involved.  Whatever the reason (could be physiological), the person just can’t seem to mediate or come to an agreement. Studies show that some of these cases can be mediated but they typically take three times as long as a typical case. Your mediator may refer you to an attorney, divorce coach or counselor that can better facilitate the process.
  5. Unwillingness to compromise: Mediation is a compromise, each party must negotiate and compromise a “fair” agreement. Even the best mediator cannot obtain a compromise from a party that is not willing to do so.

If you would like to learn more about mediating your divorce or custody issues, email Dawn Clement  at Dawn@ClementMediation.com for a consultation.

 

5 Obstacles to an Effective Divorce Mediation

What does a no-fault divorce mean in Pennsylvania?

No Fault

What does a no-fault divorce mean? In Pennsylvania, we have a 90 day mutual consent no fault divorce option. If both spouses mutually agree (consent) that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”, a divorce can be obtained regardless of fault.  An “irretrievable breakdown” is a fancy way to simply state that a marriage cannot be saved, or that it is hopeless. This legal option eliminates the need for one spouse to formally blame the other spouse of misconduct in court.  Allowing families to keep their private information and “dirty laundry” out of court and out of the public record is a benefit to couples that choose to divorce peacefully.

Simple Path

Procedurally, your divorce will take longer than 90 days, but the filing requirements and fees are less expensive if you choose this route.  Eliminating the public accusations and he-said-she-said can bridge the divide and help create the  a path to a simple, cost effective divorce. A qualified divorce mediator can help you focus on navigating the issues of divorce and move forward peacefully, avoiding the guilt and shame that may surface publically during a trial. If a healthy divorce sounds appealing to you, give divorce mediation a try!

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com for more information or to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

 

What does a no-fault divorce mean in Pennsylvania?

Divorce Checklist

Your divorce mediator may ask you to gather documents to prepare for your divorce. These documents should include property and debt owned both individually and together. Your mediator will ask you questions, such as the date acquired and the approximate value and title of these items. In mediation, it is helpful to prepare copies of these documents for your spouse so that you both are able to have an informed discussion and make decisions together about the disposition of your properties or debts.

Divorce Mediation Checklist

  • Bank statements
  • Your employment, salary and description
  • Spouse’s employment, salary and description
  • Tax returns
  • Family expenses
  • Individual expenses
  • Personal property list
  • Real estate asset list
  • Stocks/Bonds/CD’s
  • Credit card statements
  • Loan statements
  • Retirement statements
  • Life insurance policies
  • Business financial statements
  • Trusts
  • Safety deposit box content list
  • Motor vehicle titles
  • Other assets or liabilities not listed above

If you need help preparing these documents, consider reaching out to a qualified professional such as your accountant, bookkeeper,  property appraiser or financial advisor. Gathering these documents on your own will save you time and money in the long run. It may seem overwhelming at first, but a knowledgeable and qualified mediator will help you navigate the documents you need during your divorce process.

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com  for more information or to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

Divorce Checklist

How to save money on your divorce.

Divorce can be difficult and financial worries often burden already overwhelmed families.  Often folks ask how to save money  and keep afloat financially during the process.  This can be difficult at times, especially if one spouse moves out, the household expenses will typically increase, not decrease.  During divorce mediation, we have a conversation about income and expenses and how to divorce with financial peace. Here are a few helpful tips we discuss to save money on your divorce:

Stay out of court!

The cheapest way to divorce is to avoid the court room!  Litigating your divorce in court can possibly end in bankruptcy or financial ruin for both you and your spouse. Consider using a qualified mediator to empower you to make decisions for you and your family.  Mediation fees are typically much less expensive compared to litigation fees during the divorce or custody process. Your chances of a quick, inexpensive and amicable divorce significantly increase by simply staying out of the court room.

Ask for an estimate

At the initial divorce consultation, ask for an estimate of the fees and whether you will need to pay a large retainer upfront.  A retainer is a lump sum, advance payment to your attorney to begin your case, and can be in the $2000 – $5000 or more range.  If cash flow is an issue, consider asking whether your attorney offers “unbundled” legal services. Unbundling may help your cash flow because you only pay for the services you actually use or need, essentially you will pay for your services as you go. As a mediator, I find that unbundling my services helps families move forward without the financial stress of large upfront payments.

Know your finances

Gather and organize your financial statements and prepare a budget worksheet on your own. By becoming better aware of your financial situation, rather than asking your lawyer to prepare these documents for you, will save you precious time and money. If you are using a mediator, making copies and sharing these documents with your spouse ahead of time will also help save you time and money during the process.

Hire your own professionals

You and your spouse may need to hire other professionals such as accountants, certified divorce financial planners, appraisers, real estate agents and therapists. Using professionals to assist in business valuations, valuing personal assets, investments, retirement accounts, homes, and taxes can be helpful but are not always necessary during a divorce. Agreeing on whether to hire these experts with your spouse and agreeing to share in these expenses can save your family time and money.

Be organized

When preparing for a mediation or meeting, organizing your thoughts will save you time and money.  Write a list of your questions and the important matters that you wish to discuss. Staying focused and prepared will help you make decisions and find solutions efficiently. Gather and organize your paperwork and documents in a special folder, and make the necessary copies, so that you are prepared to provide the information when asked in a timely manner.

Communicate

You and your spouse have previously had to communicate during your marriage and make important decisions.   During the divorce process it can be helpful to continue to talk to your spouse about the big decisions for your family. When divorcing you will need to make decisions about your children and pets and how to divide your assets and debts. Try to find common ground and discuss the most effective way to distribute the cars, homes, pets and bank accounts. This may seem like common sense, but the more you and your spouse talk and communicate with each other directly instead of through lawyers the less expensive your divorce will be!

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

 

How to save money on your divorce.

Thinking about getting a divorce in Pennsylvania?

If you are thinking about getting a divorce, first consider divorce mediation.  A neutral and qualified mediator can help you and your spouse divide the property and parenting responsibilities peacefully and respectfully.

A mediated divorce is an amicable, simple and efficient process. Pennsylvania has a Mutual Consent No-Fault Divorce option which allows couples to obtain a divorce regardless of marital fault. The benefit to choosing this type of divorce is that you are able to move forward after a 90 day waiting period, without the need of one spouse to show misconduct through the court system. Time and money are precious resources, especially during a divorce, and the mediated pathway is an efficient and less expensive method of obtaining a divorce.

You have probably heard from your family and friends that the divorce process is devastating. This does not have to be the case for your family! Couples using mediation tend to end the marriage in a better position both financially and emotionally than those that take their battle into the court room. Once you and your spouse decide that it is time for a divorce, and if you both agree, consider scheduling a consultation with a mediator before you dive into the litigation process!

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

Thinking about getting a divorce in Pennsylvania?