Tips on Finding a Divorce Mediator

Divorce mediators are professionals that help families resolve conflict and can help you navigate the divorce or custody process peacefully. Using a mediator is a great alternative to litigation, and can help you resolve your legal issues without going to court. There are a few ways to find a mediator to help you with your separation, divorce or custody issues.

When searching for a mediator, start by asking your family and friends for a referral. A good recommendation from someone you trust is a great way to find a mediator.  Ask how the process worked for them and about the mediator’s style and fees.

An attorney or other professional may be able to guide you in the right direction. For example, an attorney, accountant, financial planner or real estate agent may recommend a mediator that he or she has worked with in the past and trusts to help their clients to move forward with the process.

Using mediator referral websites such as the Academy of Professional Family Mediators,,, or the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators are also wonderful resources to help you find a professional mediator in your area.

Mediation should be easy and affordable, look for professionals that offer flat fees or unbundled fees and always ask for an estimate up front, so that there are no expensive surprises for you and your family.  Ask for a consultation so that you both have an opportunity to meet your mediator and get information about his or her mediation process and how long it typically takes to mediate situations similar to yours.

Finding an experienced, professional mediator can help you and your family move forward in a peaceful, affordable, amicable manner and with respect. If you would like more information about whether a healthy divorce or custody mediation would be right for you, please contact me at:

Tips on Finding a Divorce Mediator

Divorce Budget Worksheet

Why use a budget worksheet?

Plan your future

Most divorcing couples are surprised to hear that their expenses may significantly increase after separation (27%-50%). To put this in perspective, consider that after separation, each of your incomes may remain the same, however, instead of one shared electric bill you each will have your own separate bill, your car insurance premiums and health insurance premiums may increase, or perhaps you may lose the multi-phone discounts on your cell phone bill.  Having a clear plan of action that includes making sure you can afford to live separately from your spouse is essential.

Prepare a budget

One of the most useful ways to help plan for your future is to prepare a Budget Worksheet.  Utilizing a budget worksheet or spreadsheet can help you estimate and prepare for your expenses after separation. Most folks think budgeting is cumbersome or bothersome, but taking the time to calculate how much it will cost to move out on your own or to pay the mortgage and auto loan yourself can be one of the most important steps you take during this process. Budgeting is a necessary tool that can help you make better financial decisions for you and your family moving forward.

Make your own decisions

Your divorce mediator may ask you to prepare and share your budget worksheets and financial information with your spouse.  Sharing this information and becoming aware of the financial picture of each other, can help you make better financial decisions for you and your family. After preparing your worksheets, decide if you can afford to keep the cars and the family home, or if child support is to be calculated, how much should it be? I have found that most clients find this information empowering, and it helps them take control of their own lives moving forward.

empower yourself

Gathering the information you need to organize your life and your finances can empower you to make the best decisions for your future. To get started, click this link for a copy of a divorce budget worksheet with formulas: Budget Worksheet   If you or your partner would like more information on mediating your divorce, separation, child custody or support issues in an amicable, efficient and affordable manner, please contact Dawn Clement at to schedule a consultation.

Dawn Clement

Mediator & Attorney


Divorce Budget Worksheet

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 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 for more information or to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator


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  for more information or to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator

Divorce Checklist

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 to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator

Thinking about getting a divorce in Pennsylvania?