Doing Divorce Differently
I help parents going through separation and divorce make decisions and plans in their children's best interests. I made this choice in my divorce, and today my kids are healthy, resilient and thriving. I want to work with you to ensure your kids will be too.
Creating an agreement can be difficult on your own. Parents often find it challenging to keep focused without spiralling into old conversations and conflict. I firmly believe that mediation is the most effective process in supporting this.
As a mediator, I facilitate difficult conversations that allow parents to successfully create a plan together while controlling all of the decisions. What evolves is a very detailed agreement that is successful in the long term with decreased conflict and significant savings.
Questions often asked...
What is mediation?
Mediation is a strategic conversation. The goal is to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial for both parties. My role as the mediator is the facilitate the discussion to ensure decisions get made. Mediated agreements often include parenting schedules, decision-making, communication, financial support, property division etc.
Is mediation is like counselling?
Mediation is very different from counselling and legal advice. It is similar to business planning. I consider the parents as business partners, the children are the business. The parent's job is to ensure the business (the children) thrive. As your mediator, I see myself as your business coach, helping to build a solid plan.
How do we manage the conflict between us?
The bottom line, it takes two to tango and nd it takes two to create conflict. Yes, some people have high conflict personalities and I believe it is critical not to diagnose the other parent. Mediation is possible even in high conflict situations. We can only control how we respond, not how the other parent responds. The key is for each to take responsibility for their contribution to the conflict and show a willingness to negotiate.
How do I ensure I get time with my children?
Children do better overall (intact marriage or not) with two engaged parents. Restricting time with the other parent (unless there are significant safety issues) is not the answer. Everyone parents differently. The goal is to design a plan that works in the children's best interests.
What about financial support?
Separation and divorce can be expensive, and financial situations will shift. Separate homes alone impact expenses. The goal is to find a way for both parents to take financial responsibility and support the children. Mediation is a collaborative conversation. It's not about win-lose, but rather win-win, especially for the children.
Will this be a waste of money?
It can be if people are not prepared to negotiate, and I realize the last person most people want to deal with is a former partner. The cost of non-mediated negotiation (litigation or court) is substantially more expensive than mediation. Walking away with a full agreement after spending a few thousand dollars in mediation can save in considerable legal fees.
Can I involve my lawyer?
If parties choose to consult a lawyer at any point in the mediation process, I encourage it. I encourage people to access several experts: financial advisors, accountants, business evaluators, real estate agents etc. Finding advice from the right people is essential - good advice will inform good decisions.
Will our divorce "wreck" our kids?
In becoming a parent, that's a risk we all take; it's how we co-parent that makes the difference. The same goes for divorce, the risk is there, and it is how parents choose to manage themselves and the situation that makes all the difference.
I begin by having a brief individual conversation with both parties. We discuss the mediation process and clarify each person's priorities. Following these conversations, we all meet together, either in person or through videoconferencing. In the end, you will receive a comprehensive Mediated Agreement, which is non-binding and may be used to create a legal separation agreement. Listed below are topics often included in a Mediated Agreement.
Parenting arrangements (day to day parenting schedules, vacations, long weekend, special occasions etc.)
Child Support (base child support; special expenses)
On average it takes between 4 - 10 hours to create a mediated agreement. Each session is 2 hours in length. We meet either in person or by videoconferencing.
People often want to meet individually to discuss their situation and process ways to approach things from a different perspective.