divorce3Divorce can be an extremely stressful circumstance that drags forth an array of emotions. Many people often experience physical side effects due to the generated stress, such as headaches, depression, anxiety, poor sleep patterns and panic attacks. The new reality of a divorcee’s life, one that is completely altered from its previous state, can hit home hard. The sweeping changes affect each person differently. With all the negativity that can come with a divorce, more and more people are seeking ways to ease the process. As everything seems to be spiraling out of control, people will grasp for ways to maintain some semblance of normalcy and put their future back into their own hands.

This is where many are finding that divorce mediation is a great alternative to a courtroom setting. Rather than ending a terrible event with the orders and statements of a judge who knows nothing of the couple and its complex history, many individuals undergoing a permanent separation are choosing to attend divorce mediation sessions in order to work out their differences, developing working plans that benefit all parties involved.

The Benefits of Mediation

When a couple goes to court to settle a divorce, they are putting their money, property, belongings and children into the hands of a judge and simply hoping that his or her decision will sway in their favor or, at least, prove beneficial in some way. This often results in everyone losing and an outcome that can be just as dysfunctional as the relationship itself once was. The beauty of mediation is that it gives the splitting couple the opportunity to sit down together and work out a solution to their unique situation that is good for everyone involved. Rather than attending a court hearing, separating spouses work out amongst themselves how they will split assets and successfully co-parent their children.

How it Works

Mediation is a simple, straightforward process. There is no need to read up on the latest legal jargon, though it is a great idea to speak with your lawyer or a counselor before coming to any conclusions. You and your former spouse will simply write down what outcomes you each want in the divorce. Then, with the help of a mediator, you will sit down together and recite your wants and needs, talk out current issues and develop an unbiased, collective plan for going forward. Be sure to seek counseling from a professional before attending mediation.

Why Choose Mediation

Mediation makes the process of divorce much less stressful when compared to going to court. It is much quicker to find beneficial solutions and put them into practice. Knowing that you were instrumental in creating those solutions can make it easier to stick to the guidelines set forth, as well as ease your stress. Mediation is also quick and very private, unlike a traditional divorce court case.

To learn more about divorce mediation, visit our mediation page and contact a Jones Divorce Mediation representative.

differenceThe terms mediation and arbitration are often thought to be interchangeable. Despite the similarities, there are several key differences between arbitration and mediation you should keep in mind when deciding whether to proceed.

What’s the Difference?

Divorce mediation and arbitration are great options for couples who want to avoid expensive, time-consuming traditional litigation. Both mediation and arbitration involve an impartial third party to oversee the negotiation process so that trial in a divorce court can be avoided.

So, how exactly are they different? In mediation, the neutral party does not have the power to make decisions. They are there to guide couples and help them come to an acceptable divorce agreement. On the other hand, an arbitrator can act as a judge would. After listening to the facts, the arbitrator will decide the case. Parties can make arguments against the arbitrator’s decision, but if it is a binding arbitration, the arbitrator has the final say. Non-binding arbitration gives couples the opportunity to request a trial if they do not agree with the arbitrator’s decision.

In general, divorce arbitration is conducted with a panel of arbitrators. Unlike mediation, which usually uses a single mediator to help facilitate discussion and resolve disputes, arbitration will often have three arbitrators: one on each party’s side, then a third to contribute to the final decision. These decisions are made by majority vote.

Is One Better Than the Other?

Depending on your needs, arbitration or mediation can be a great way to get through your divorce smoothly. For couples who believe they can come to an agreement without much trouble, mediation is probably best for you. With divorce mediation, final decisions are completely up to you. With arbitration, the third party or parties will often have the sole power to come to a decision. Arbitration can be great for couples who feel comfortable letting someone else decide on the terms of their divorce agreement. After all, arbitrators are trained to come to the best, most fair decision possible.

Ultimately, arbitration and mediation are great ways to take some of the headache out of divorce. Now that you know the difference between the two, Jones Divorce Mediation will help you with whichever method you decide on. Call us today for a free confidential consultation.

savemarriageThere is not a couple out there who goes into marriage expecting or wanting a divorce. Splitting up should almost always be the last option a couple considers. After all, you’ve agreed to a life-long partnership together, through thick and thin. Barring situations of abuse, habitual infidelity or other extreme situations, you should try to work through those tough times. However, when it does come time to split, attempting a mediated divorce has been known to not only preserve the couple’s dignity, it can actually result in saving the marriage.

The Purpose of a Mediator

Nobody calls a mediator because they’re looking for a fight. You call a mediator because you are trying to maintain control over your partnership and come to a solution for your problems that will preserve your dignity and, on some level, your relationship.

The mediator, likewise, is not looking to push the couple into a funnel from which a divorce is the only outcome. Mediators are impartial representatives whose job it is to help you cooperate like you once did. Through the process of cooperation, some couples can actually re-ignite their ability to work through their problems.

Communication

Communication is the primary focus of a mediated divorce. Similarly, it is often the major breakdown that leads to divorce in the first place. By opening your mind and facing your communication problems head-on, you may discover that the person on the other side is still the one you loved, and the barriers you face can be overcome.

Marriages that seek a mediated divorce may not necessarily be over — they are simply threatened, and by getting those lines of communication going again the threat can sometimes pass.

Important Questions

When you go before a mediator and begin to talk out your problems and your split, ask yourself if you have been a good spouse. Consider whether you are still able to see things from your partner’s point of view. Do you understand his or her pain? Do you have unrealistic expectations that even you could not meet? Are you able to put your spouse ahead of yourself?

If the answer to each of these questions is “no,” then you have identified some major problems to overcome. We live in a selfish culture that is obsessed with unrealistic notions of “fairness.” Marriages are partnerships, but they are not always fair. To have a strong partnership, you need to understand that there are times when you have to give more than you receive.

Removing Blame

Mediated divorce proceedings are all about removing blame. Usually, in a divorce, there’s plenty of blame to go around and focusing on whose fault it is rarely leaves you with the best result. The funny thing is, once you remove blame from the picture, there often isn’t much left about which to argue. When this happens you can ask yourself, “is divorce really the right thing to do, or is there something there to salvage and save?”

If you are ready to open the lines of communication again, give us a call for a consultation today.

divorceA mediated divorce provides a viable alternative to traditional litigated divorce. It is a means by which the couple can come together and decide on the best way to divide assets and responsibilities between themselves. This can be especially important when children are involved. Here are a few reasons why child custody mediation is better than litigated divorce.

A Non-Adversarial Process

Mediated divorces are collaborative rather than adversarial. They help to jettison a lot of the anger and negative feelings that come with the dissolution of a romance and partnership. It allows parents to keep their children’s needs as the foremost concern. The parents get to work together to establish a good parenting plan without the interference of the courts.

Child Custody Mediation and Kids

A mediated process is far easier on children. Divorce is already a traumatic and difficult thing for kids to go through. Why make it worse by making them watch their parents fight over them in court? The emotional trauma can take a long time to heal. When you use the services of a mediator, your children get to see you still working as a team towards their best interests and they are less likely to blame themselves for your strife.

Blame-Free

Hand-in-hand with the non-adversarial mediation process comes freedom from blame. The mediator is a neutral professional whose job it is to keep you both focused on making the right choices for you. Blame is thrown out the window in favor of a rational plan for deciding on custody and parenting plans.

Focus on the Future

It’s easy when going through divorce to focus on the sins of the past. By keeping partners’ attention on the present and on what is best for them and their kids moving forward, the focus is redirected on a more positive future. In fact, this future-focused process is vital to the goal of reducing conflict, letting go of anger and making the best decisions.

Maintaining Partnerships

When you go through a divorce, you are ending a romance, but if you have kids, the relationship itself must move forward. You can’t afford for your partnership to break down entirely. Rather, you have to come up with a new means of partnering and establish a new and different relationship, which could sometimes become a deep and abiding friendship.

Divorce mediation helps you to maintain your ability to work as a team, and find a new relationship and partnership out of the dissolving of your romance and marriage. This will be vital when the time comes to make decisions about your children’s future together.

Winners All Around

It’s hard to think of the concept of winners in a divorce, but a child custody mediation comes about as close as it can to creating winners all around. It allows children to keep access to both of their parents. It allows parents to come together and maintain a partnership. It saves arguments and salvages relationships.

If you are facing divorce and think a mediated process would be good for you, give us a call for a consultation today.

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