A colleague asked me yesterday why we call this blog “Real Divorce Mediation”? (2016 Update: Original blog was realdivorcemediation.com, now housed completely here on this site.)

There are so many different types of mediation, that people are puzzled about what divorce mediation really is:

  • Facilitative
  • Evaluative
  • Shuttle

What are they and which one is best? When I first started doing divorce mediation in 1988, the field was relatively new and uncomplicated. Divorcing couples met in the same room with the mediator, an impartial third person, who facilitated their discussions. All divorce issues were negotiated and decided by the clients. Issues included developing a parenting plan, reviewing income and expenses, determining child support and spousal support, and deciding property and debt division. Divorcing couples also knew there were two other options if they did not want to use mediation:

  1. If they were lucky they could find two attorneys to help them resolve the issues cooperatively
  2. They could start the “War of the Roses” and litigate.

That was then—this is now

The process of “Real Divorce Mediation” is the same. Tips for couples using mediation are:

  • Start the process at the beginning of the divorce
  • Meet in the same room with an impartial mediator who facilitates the discussions
  • Use cooperative consulting attorneys as needed to help you understand legal information, coach you about negotiation, help you brainstorm, prepare court documents, and go to court with you
  • Choose when to use outside experts such as appraisers, accountants, parenting specialists, and therapists
  • Come to agreement based on needs and interests

The process occurs over time; the couple is involved in every step from beginning to end—creating their own agreement.

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