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Choosing the 'Right' Divorce                           Mediator   

July, 2016                                                                                Written by CMDR Staff

 

When contemplating divorce... it is hard to know if the multitude of emotions, or the sheer number of things to be done, is more paralyzing.  

One of the first decisions to be made is whether to mediate or litigate your divorce. As mediators we believe that mediation is the process of choice in most situations.  If you have already elected to mediate, you have probably already factored into the decision the many benefits of the mediation process;lower costs, confidentiality, and being in control are all distinct advantages of mediation. 

 

But have you thought about how to choose a mediator?

 

Here is some information that may help you make that decision.

The level of skill of the mediator, to drive and conclude the process, is critical to achieving the advantages of the process.  In fact the experience and finesse of the mediator can arguably be the tipping point between success and breakdown of the mediation.  Thus choosing the “right“ mediator is crucial to your success achieving a "good and fair" settlement.

 

Working with an experienced mediator who is able to craft a comprehensive, and solid agreement, is primary to the process.  Lynne Halem, Director of CMDR, has been mediating for over 30 years and her agreements are well known by Family Court justices as being reasonable, comprehensive, and fair.   In fact CMDR’s agreements are rarely adjusted by attorneys before being presented to the Court.                                                                                            

"We went before the judge yesterday who said she sees hundreds of agreements and ours was the clearest, most comprehensive, extraordinarily fair, logically presented contract she has read. Many thanks for your patience, intelligence, and understanding."

                                                                                                   Wife for 42 years, and mother of four grown children

 

Dr. Halem prides herself on educating her clients beyond just  “informed consent. “    If one party feels less competent in the area of finance, she will make sure that both parties understand the legal and tax implications of their options now, and in the years ahead. She wants clients to feel in control after they finish mediation, and that means being able to anticipate future financial events.  Lynne’s financial acumen informs her ability to explore creative, ‘out-of -the–box” solutions, that help couples get through financial roadblocks even if in unconventional ways.   As a result of her years of experience Lynne is easily able to create responsive, innovative solutions that are accepted by counsel and court. This level of comfort with acceptable deviations from the norm is reassuring, and gives her clients a significant advantage in their future interaction. Couples feel truly in control of the process.      

       I was petrified that I would be destitute.  He earned and controlled all the money.  I had foolishly allowed myself to remain ignorant.  Thanks to CMDR, the end result of mediation left me well protected.  My fears and wishes were dealt with as were my husband’s.  I am grateful for a new beginning and feel more financially confident, thanks to the knowledge and skills I gained in mediation      -Married 27 years, mother of two                                                                                                                                                   

Lynne Halem’s understanding of complex legal and tax issues, combined with extraordinary sensitivity, allow her to help adversaries produce lasting agreements which are fair and practical.”                              -Attorney representing divorce client, 2014                                                                                                                                             

 

In helping couples to problem-solve their specific family needs or disagreements, Lynne brings a brand of creativity  that can only come from years of experience, and an intuitive impartiality that could never be “learned.”  The combination of these two characteristics gives Dr. Halem  a unique ability to “get through” to people that think they could never successfully agree.  Lynne has mediated sensitive, hurtful situations that had been deemed “lost causes” by therapists and lawyers- and many times, the clients themselves.  Because she is not only neutral, but truly non-judgmental, she has helped couples that had not communicated for years, work their way back to functioning relationships.   

 We are most grateful to you for creating an arena and an agenda within which we could learn to talk with each other about touchy issues. Rancor dissipated into practicality. We are continuing to work out issues with the style you taught us."                                                                                                                                   -24-year marriage, two children

                                          

 

Another element of her comprehensive approach is Dr. Halem’s dogged attention to detail, which is fueled by her principled belief that divorce agreements must protect the well being of all family members.   Lynne focuses on helping parents structure a workable settlement agreement by thinking about parenting, in a “post-divorce” context.   Because she has seen how unclear and vague agreements can lead to the breakdown of post-divorce parenting plans, Lynne tries to anticipate future changes in income, or disposal of current assets, or financing the children’s’ secondary education.  She tries to have parents plan real-life solutions – such as laying out holiday schedules or even acceptable gifting limits.  While this may seem unnecessary today, in advance of the conflict, it truly helps parents begin to envision the new  “family” roles after the divorce.  She encourages couples to think about future changes that may impact what choices they make today. 

 

Mediation is a wonderful way to put an end to your marriage in a civilized manner; and if you realize that with children you two will always be connected and can parent together – separately without an intense ‘hate.’ The two of you must sit there and face your children’s future care together."                             -13-year marriage, one child                     

 

In the heat of the argument it may seem unrealistic to think about coming to compromise with your spouse.  But if you choose the 'right' mediator - instead of just a 'good' one, it can be the difference between providing a Band-Aid that just covers the scratch, or the cement of a functional life-long partnership. 

At the Centre for Mediation...

Our goal is to help divorcing couples to anticipate the future, to prepare them for the unanticipated situations, and finally, to draft a document that will last a lifetime.” 

                                                                                                          -Dr. Lynne C. Halem, Director CMDR

 



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