Civil Negotiation and Mediation by Nancy Hudgins
I just got off the phone with a party interested in mediation. He asked me to tell him something about the process.
I co-mediate divorces with John Duda, M.F.T., a family and couples therapist who practices on the peninsula south of San Francisco. John and I appreciate the collaborative aspect of our mediation practice. Our clients tell us they appreciate the male-female, therapist-lawyer perspectives we bring.
Divorce mediation sessions usually center on the main decisions which couples need to make. These decisions include:
Division of Assets and Liabilities:
+Residences: whether the house will be sold to a third party or whether one spouse can afford to buy out the other and remain in the house or some other arrangement that makes sense to the parties;
+Stuff: how the cars and household furnishings and stuff will be divided up;
+Businesses: how businesses will be evaluated and who will buy whom out;
+Liabilities: what debts are owed and how they will be apportioned;
+Budgeting: what each spouse’s expenses going forward are likely to be;
+Whether it’s necessary or wanted, and if so, how much it will be; and,
+Who will pay and how much; what it can include (health insurance, camps, college, etc.).
+How to work out a plan that makes sense for the children, how the kids will split their time, what the transitions from one parent to the other will look like, etc.;
These are big decisions. As mediators we assist couples in coming to understand what their needs are and we help facilitate these forward-looking conversations.
Because these conversations can be hard, we usually schedule a series of two-hour sessions. In each session we work on one of the areas above.
When all of these areas have been discussed and agreements have been made, we draw up a Marital Settlement Agreement and assist the parties in obtaining their divorce decree.
IndisputablyVirtually everyone in our field knows about the wonderful book, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. It focuses on everyday conversations...By John Lande