Mediation and the Children

Mediation and the Children

Using mediation can be an effective alternative to long drawn out divorce litigation, especially when it comes to matters involving the children.

Parents are given the chance to work together and create a parenting plan that respects each parent’s individual relationship with the children when using mediation.

The non-adversarial nature of mediation means that the common goal of doing what is best for your children can be achieved without the conflict that accompanies litigation. Both parents are involved in creating a parenting plan that works best for their family dynamic, not what a judge deems best.

By removing the conflict, you avoid a situation where the children are inevitably caught in the middle. Instead, mediation concentrates on what’s best for the children, while showing you how to separate your interests from theirs.

Mediating a child custody agreement will teach you the communication skills necessary to deal with each other effectively without creating stressful conflict for the children.  Those skills will come in handy down the road when the needs of the children change as they grow up.

There is a financial benefit to mediating your parenting plan.  When lawyers and the courts are involved both parties are paying a lawyer for to represent them.

The focus of mediating custody is to create a plan that is best for the children and in the process parents create a working relationship where the children flourish.

Posted in Children & Divorce, Divorce Mediation | Leave a comment

Post Divorce Mediation

post divorce mediationSometimes the divorce decree is not the final stop for divorcing spouses, and clients need Post-Divorce Mediation. While this may feel like a setback, it is actually pretty common. So, what are the reasons that already-divorced couples go to mediation?

In some cases, one or both of the exes are having trouble following the agreement, and they return to mediation in the hopes of working through their issues with a divorce mediator instead of returning to court. Indeed, the court prefers mediation to continuing litigation. In many settlement agreements, divorced couples are required to try to resolve their differences through mediation before the court will allow them to return. Continue Reading Article by Westfield Mediation

Posted in Divorce Mediation | Leave a comment

Coping with Divorce

copingI was recently invited to collaborate on an expert panel and share some insights on how cope with divorce. Here are my best tips:

When in the throes of a divorce or separation, the big question is often, “How am I going to get through this?” Three words come to mind: Time. Attitude. And Support.

Oh, that dreaded four letter word – TIME. Divorce is a process and it’s going to take time. I saw a quote on Pinterest that said, “Progress: you might not be where you want to be but you’re not where you used to be.”

Give yourself time to grieve and grow. Don’t rush the process.

Also, having the right attitude is important. I remember when I was going through my own divorce reading this quote by motivational speaker Brian Tracy – “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”

Starting to appreciate what I had and not thinking about what I lost made all the difference for me.

Finally, a good support network will work wonders. Family and friends will want to be there for you and you will lean on them but after a while that may start to put a strain on those relationships.

There are many divorce support groups available that can help you cope.

They offer an opportunity to make new friends and socialize with people who understand what you’re going through. A word of advice about support groups: they each have their own dynamic so if you don’t fit in the first group you find, look for another one. Nobody says getting divorced is easy, but if you give yourself the time, have the right attitude and get good support, the transition into your new life can be much smoother than you think.

You can read the full article here: How to Cope with Divorce

Posted in Divorce Mediation, Surviving divorce | Leave a comment

How to Prepare for a Peaceful Divorce

I was recently invited to collaborate on an expert panel and share some insights on how to prepare for divorce and keep it peaceful. Here are my best tips:

The first tip I would offer would be to do some real soul searching to understand why the marriage is ending.
It’s easy to put all the blame on your spouse, but that’s not fair to either of you. When you assign all the blame to the other person, you are making yourself a victim. Having a victim mentality gives you a sense of powerlessness.
To have a peaceful divorce, both people need to feel like they are on even ground.

Also important is to keep the lines of communication open.
Having an open, rational dialogue with your spouse will go a long way to maintaining the peace. I remember when I was growing up, my mother always told me, “It’s not necessarily what you say, it’s how you say it.” Often we don’t realize how people are affected by the things we say, so think before speaking.
Using the services of a good mediator can help keep the lines of communication open.
Sometimes a couple that had communication problems during the marriage will learn from the mediator how to have an open and honest exchange of information, while expressing their needs and expectations in a positive way.

Finally, try to avoid “knee jerk” reactions.
Let’s face it, divorce is stressful. When we’re under stress we don’t always think before we act – add to that your spouse pushing your buttons and it’s easy to see why that happens. In my personal experience, most of my knee jerk reactions didn’t go so well for me.
When confronted with an issue, stop for a minute, take a deep breath and think about the best way to handle the situation. It’s ok to say, “Let me get back to you on that” or “Can we talk about that later?” so you have time to think the situation through.
Using these three tips will help make what could be a hostile situation much more amicable.

Posted in Divorce, Divorce Mediation, Getting Started | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Your real friends will be there for you

Sometimes when going through a divorce people will isolate themselves. Try not to do that. You will know who your true friends are and they will be there for you.

Posted in Divorce | Leave a comment

Multitasking After Divorce

Sometimes during and after a divorce, people find themselves facing a task that the other spouse always handled. For example, the person who never paid the bills has to open new credit cards or refinance the house. Or the person who was not the primary care-giver needs to comfort a sick or unhappy child. With the marriage ending, both spouses have to do all the family jobs from financial management to childcare, and it can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning.

In divorce mediation, at Westfield Mediation, LLC, we advise our clients not to be afraid to ask for help –from family members, friends or outside professionals. As we work on the parenting and financial agreement for moving forward, many people worry about how they will be able to manage. After all, in most relationships, the responsibilities are shared to some extent. One person does the cleaning, while the other cooks. One person does the driving, while the other pays the bills. One person is the main financial earner, while the other is the primary child care provider. When you go from two people to one, each person has a lot more responsibility, and you should not expect that it will be easy to do it alone.

We recommend that divorcing couples seek assistance from outside sources or from their network of family and friends. For example, if you haven’t done any investing before, it may be worthwhile to consult a financial advisor. And you may need to rely on a babysitter to pick up some of the childcare duties. Asking for help is not a sign of defeat. Rather, it is often a necessary step towards getting you back on your feet and establishing a new routine.

Posted in Divorce Mediation, Moving On, Surviving divorce | Leave a comment

Dividing the Holidays

With Thanksgiving upon us, divorced or divorcing families are now thinking about how they are going to spend and share the holidays this year. Which house? Who gets the kids? Who buys which gifts?

At Westfield Mediation, LLC, our divorce mediation clients often ask us – – what is the best way to deal with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve and Day? There are several good options, and the answer really depends on your specific family traditions, and how close – geographically and emotionally – each parent is to his⁄her extended family. In divorce mediation, we craft a personalized plan for sharing or alternating holidays that works for your particular family.

Still, it is important to keep in mind that divorce generally changes the way families spend the holidays. As a result, there will likely be times when your children are with the other parent, and not with you. The goal in divorce mediation is to address the scheduling issues up–front to minimize conflict and stress, so that everyone knows what to expect, and the holidays remain enjoyable and fun for all.

Another issue that often arises during Christmas and Hanukkah is gift-giving. To the extent possible, we suggest that…

Continue reading this excellent article recently posted on our site submitted by Westfield Mediation, LLC a New Jersey Divorce Mediation firm in Westfield, NJ.

Posted in Children & Divorce, Divorce, Divorce Mediation | Leave a comment

Divorce Over 50 Mediation and Retirement

The rate of divorce among couples over the age of 50 has increased dramatically in the past 30 years, and the trend is expected to continue.  For those over 50 getting a divorce retirement planning is in the forefront of the issues to be dealt with.   Those mediating their divorce need to be sure to use a divorce mediator who possesses the knowledge to draft an agreement that protects both parties assets in retirement.  Click here to read an article on Divorce Mediation and Retirement by Westfield Mediation.

Posted in Divorce, Divorce Mediation, Financial Issues | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What if You Can’t Afford Your Divorce

making divorce affordableWe’ve all heard the horror stories of how expensive divorce can be.   Believe it or not getting a divorce doesn’t have to break the bank.   Proper planning, keeping an open mind, forgetting revenge and most importantly hiring the right professionals for your particular situation will all help keep the costs down.

Julia Jones, family law attorney at Livesay & Myers, P.C.  has some great suggestions  for getting divorced when you think you can’t afford to.   In her recently posted article on she says many people want to be smart about moving forward with divorce but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on the litigation process.   She suggest that if you find yourself in that situation, the following are less expensive options and ways to mitigate the litigation costs in your divorce while still employing an attorney:

  1. Reach a Settlement
  2. Mediate or have a Four-Way Settlement Conference
  3. Prepare and Simplify
  4. Seek Pendente Lite Relief

To see the full text of the article visit What to Do When You Can’t Afford Your Divorce

Posted in Divorce, Financial Issues | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

50/50 Parenting Plans

A lot of people come to divorce mediation thinking that they want a 50/50 parenting plan. It sounds like a great idea – fair, even, and good for the children. And it is all these things. However, it is also hard to make it work unless both parents are both flexible and committed to the plan.

Under a 50/50 parenting plan, the children spend half of their time with each parent. That means that the parents will have to live near each other and near to the children’s schools. We often recommend that parents split the week – for example, one parent gets Monday and Tuesday, while the other gets Wednesday and Thursday; and then they have alternating weekends. This way the kids know which house they will be at each day; and neither parent goes too long without seeing their children. This consistency is good for children who generally thrive with routine. It is also good for the parents – they know which days they can work late or socialize after work…. Continue reading this excellent article recently posted on our site submitted by Westfield Mediation, LLC a New Jersey Divorce Mediation firm in Westfield, NJ.

Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , | Leave a comment