Author: Divorce Done Differently in PA

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Look For The Good in Divorce

Look For The…(Wait) .. Good.. (What?!).. in Divorce

What are we looking for? What do we see around us? Sometimes there are views and hues which filter out so much of the good that’s out there, distorts so many situations, or just needlessly separates us from one another as we are just get carried along with torrent of everyday life.

One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes we need to be more mindful and deliberate about what we what we’re looking for so we can see things differently. So many things influence what and how we see things (and that makes total sense). In separation and divorce, the world often seems filled with an overwhelming pall of darkness, anger, resentment and despair. This is totally normal and completely understandable.

So often I have seen couples become so entranced by revenge that they get lost in ever chasing that white whale, Moby Dick, like the fabled captain Ahab who says as he is pulled down into the sea by the object of his obsession:

“…to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee…”

I’ve seen all too many of these sad divorce tales and know all too well the traumatic endings.
I feel exhausted and tense just thinking about that type of separation/divorce.

Yet I find that there is so much more to a situation in any given moment if we just look at it from a different angle. It is difficult and an arduous journey but it can yield the possibility of sailing off peacefully into that proverbial sunset.

Being from the Philadelphia area, I’ve become familiar with some of the ideas of “The Society Of Friends” (better known as William Penn’s Quakers). One thing which has impressed me about this group’s belief system is that their entire faith is built on this one simple premise- Seeing what is called a “Divine Presence” or “That Of God” within others- to see the light of God in everyone they meet.

Applying this simple tenet to my everyday life, I’ve found that everything changes. I see and experience things I never knew existed. I’m not talking about some religious epiphany. But if you are able to look for and then see some semblance of that Divine Presence or “good” in everyone and everything in your everyday life, you can in a very practical way see life through a lens that makes everything seem infinitely more beautiful and amazing. And in turn this new found vision can nurture you and your own sense of well-being and have a ripple effect on those around you and in some small way a positive effect on the world.

The musician Jason Mraz wrote a song which seems to personify this with the simple refrain, “look for the good in everyone.” Easier said than done, I know. It’s even more challenging when you are looking at your ex. However, if you “look for the good” in your ex, that doesn’t mean you have to erase all that has gone before. Not at all. It doesn’t mean ignoring inflicted hurts and pain you have received. It certainly doesn’t mean ignoring the wounds and tribulations you have been dealt (and are still dealing with).

Divorce is a deep, profound trauma in both of your lives. Looking for the good can help you develop a sense of empathy for that other person who may also be experiencing similar pain to you. It can also be a technique you can use as a way to journey towards healing yourself and finding peace. To create a mindset which can light the way for you to help you to better and more easily transition from the hurts of your past relationship to all the healing that awaits ahead of you. If you can look for the good in your ex, you may not see much…but just enough good to free yourself, for yourself.

Looking for the good in others is also a good starting point for the mediation process. The mediation process can help both you and your ex more easily and less expensively work things out. As the mediator I can assist you both in this process. My role as mediator is to serve as a supporting catalyst to help you reach your goal to find the “good” resolution that can serve the best interests of you and your family as you move forward in separating your household.

Please take a moment to contemplate this different perspective of “looking for the good in everyone” as Jason Mraz’s song and lyrics below would suggest and as you consider a way to divorce differently.

Look for the Good

Please take a moment to contemplate this different perspective of “looking for the good in everyone” as Jason Mraz’s song and lyrics below would suggest and as you consider a way to divorce differently.

Artist: Jason Mraz
Album: Look For The Good (Release Date – 19 June 2020)
Song: Look For The Good

Lyrics
[chorus]
Look for the good in everything
Look for the people who will set your soul free
It always seems impossible until it’s done
Look for the good in every one

People done gone crazy, people done gone mad
People done forgot the superpowers we all have
We were born to love, not hate
We can decide our fate

And look for the good in everyone
And celebrate our love most days
If there’s a silver lining (silver lining)
You still have to find it, find it, find it

[Chorus]

Everyone needs sunshine, everyone needs rain
Everyone is carrying around some kind of pain
I see who you are, you’re just like me
I see you’re searching for a purpose, guided by a dream

I see who you are, I’m just like you
I get lost sometimes and I forget what I came here to do
I keep on trying (keep on trying)
When it gets frightening

[Chorus]

[Break]

Everyone is nature, everyone is God
Everyone is love and light and vibration
Look for the good, look for the good
Everyone gets mad sometimes and maybe they should

Look for the good, Look for the good
Yeah, look out for all the heroes in your neighborhood
Look for the good, Look for the good
Life sure would be sweeter if everybody would

[Chorus]

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at lmjmyers@cs.com.

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Two birds fighting above a branch | Airing of differences in divorce | Divorce Done Differently In PA

“Festivus Makes A Mess-Of-Us”: The Airing of Grievances in Divorce

With the holiday season winding up, I came across a “Festivus” decoration which we had bought for our tree many years ago. On a whim, I watched this Seinfeld episode (“The Strike,” Season 9, Episode 10) with my spouse and child. We’ve all always found this installment of the series to be one of the best and most enjoyable.

I began to wonder if there really is a festivus. A quick google search uncovered that oddly enough, there is a real “Festivus.” “Festivus” was originally created by the American writer Daniel Lawrence O’Keefe to commemorate the first date that he had with his (then future) wife Debora on December 23rd. It was meant to intimate a feeling of “excellence,” “joviality” and “liveliness.” “A Festivus For The Rest Of Us” originally referred to those family members remaining after the death of O’Keefe’s mother Jeanette. His son, Daniel O’Keefe, grew up to become a sitcom writer. Based on this real life story with a few changes, Daniel Jr. gave us a hysterical and truly memorable Seinfeld episode.

The true origins from the O’Keefe family seem to be rather sentimental and touching. However, in terms of the younger O’Keefe’s script, as with separation and divorce, the reality is a bit more complicated.

In light of this new discovery my thoughts kept returning to my work and what “Festivus” looks like in reality in my line of work.

Part of the Seinfeld “Festivus” tradition includes the annual “airing of grievances.” As the character Frank Costanza describes: “I GOTTA LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE…NOW YOU’RE GONNA HEAR ABOUT IT!!!” (yes, he yelled).

I know and have read about some divorce attorneys actually promoting the “Airing Of Grievances” as a normal part of the divorce process (and advocating for it as a “healthy” part at that). Yet I can’t help but feel a moment of pause with this perspective.

“The Airing Of Grievances” unfortunately seems to be an integral part of the emotional divorce process but not the actual divorce court process. The legal divorce process is now generally a “no-fault process “designed to divide assets and debts, nothing more.

During the divorce process you believe that only you know all the challenges you have faced, not only in your own personal life, but also in the experiences you have had during the time with your partner well before you stepped into court. You feel the courts need to know all of this information or least let you tell your side of the story so at least you feel validated. However the courts aren’t about validation. The courts will push you to settle within their set legal parameters and you end up feeling like your divorce just doesn’t fit the courts’ view of fair. So you end up feeling very frustrated in the divorce process as the courts try to shove your square peg life into their compartmentalized legal round holes.

Unfortunately, the separation of assets and debts has nothing to do with healing, resolving emotional challenges or raising emotionally healthy children. Courts are ok at dividing property but children are not property. As for custody, the courts do the best they can with their skill set to design custody schedules for parents and children. However, the courts are made up of lawyers not sociologists or counselors. So although parents and children may be in a better position to determine the best parenting plans, because the parents are so emotionally overwrought over their divorce they tend to simply hand over their power to determine the best schedule for their children when they step into the courts.

In my experience, “Airing Of Grievances” can very easily (and most often does) fall into the realm of endlessly maintaining a score of “who did what” and “when.” It can be a source of continued rumination on the hurt and harm people have received at the hands of their partner/spouse during their time together (as well as after any relationship has ended).

I must be honest. In my view, focusing on these things, as if on an endlessly looping, repeating tape, does not resolve anything. It certainly does not help YOU move forward with your life as a person, with relation to your “ex.” It certainly does not make life any easier or emotionally healthier for any children you may have. I regret to say and I would not have believed it myself if I have not seen it to be so common a result in my more than 34 years of practicing family law, with respect to children, this kind of “airing of grievances” causes more harm to the welfare and stability of your children than you can possibly imagine.

Separation and divorce are profoundly painful and disorienting. But as intensely difficult as this is, it doesn’t mean that it has to be any specific person’s “fault.” As unbelievable as it may sound, it doesn’t have to be anyone’s “fault.” That’s why even the courts embraced this concept, decades ago, when states began to allow no fault divorces based on “irreconcilable differences” or “no fault.”

Endlessly rehashing injustices and grievances about your “ex” does not heal or make things right or fair. It does not resolve disagreements or issues. It does not resolve practical, everyday problems with a relationship which has fallen apart. It most certainly doesn’t address the real life challenges your children and you as their parents are facing day to day.

Child running through field with hula hoop | Airing of differences and raising healthy children | Divorce Done Differently in PA

The hurt, pain, disappointment and betrayal one feels after the breakup of a marriage or divorce are best under the care of a qualified therapist. A qualified therapist can help you process and heal and empower you to be ready to face not only the challenges you may have faced and continue to face during the course of your own life, but also with regard to your “ex.”

The parallels between the Story of Festivus and the demise of a marriage are striking. The history of Festivus started out from sweet seeds of sentimentality and grew from those origins into a rose bush of satirical parody whose thorns prick with the airing of grievances. The same way the sweet beginnings of a marriage that blooms into a life together ends with pricking the couple with its thorns of disappointment, betrayal and distrust as the marriage ends in divorce.

From a mediation standpoint “The Airing Of Grievances” isn’t really productive. My job, as a Marriage Mediator, is to serve as a facilitator to help couples smooth the transition between an unworkable relationship to a healing path forward. I help couples divorcing start to feel in control of the process of divorce by holding a safe space for them where each person will feel heard and acknowledged and informed, not attacked or blamed. I help lead them to a calm space where they can together make decisions that best suit their family based on their intimate knowledge of the lives and what will work best for them, not based on a cold general set of laws. Through mediation, I help my clients, through their divorce mediation, reconfigure, not destroy, all that they as a couple have built together during their marriage, so that it survives to benefit them and their children going forward. Contact us today for a consultation.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at lmjmyers@cs.com.

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Collaborative Divorce Process

The collaborative divorce process can vary by jurisdiction and the professionals who become involved in your case. However, generally, the process is described best as “representation without litigation.” Collaborative divorce is a mix between a traditional divorce because it involves attorneys, and divorce mediation, where couples reach an agreement on their own through discussions facilitated by a mediator.

Lawyers retained for the collaborative divorce process are specifically trained to reach “win-win” settlements instead of “win- lose” outcomes. This is because Collaborative attorneys serve as advocates not only for what is best for their clients but for what is fair and just for all involved.

In the collaborative divorce process, all the professionals involved in your matter are interested in helping you and your spouse resolve your legal issues in an amicable fashion without litigation. Anything that is shared during the collaborative divorce process is confidential and cannot be used in litigation if the collaborative divorce process fails.

The process generally involves the following steps:

  1. Each spouse hires a collaborative attorney, who has been trained in the collaborative law process. One attorney cannot ethically represent both sides because an attorney is hired to advocate for only one party, their client.

  2.  The spouses and their attorneys sign a collaborative contract that sets out the terms of the process which requires the parties to agree to “collaborate” in the divorce process in order to reach an amicable settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached and the case goes to court, the agreement also states that the spouses’ attorneys cannot represent their clients in the litigation process. The spouses would then have to hire new attorneys to represent them in litigating their case in the courts.

  3.  The spouses will meet with their attorneys alone and individually to discuss his or her most favorable vision for a parenting plan, child support, spousal support and property division.

  4.  Then the two attorneys and the spouses will also meet together in joint sessions to discuss their client’s position. In these initial meetings the attorneys lay the groundwork for the process in the future to discuss what issues the spouses agree upon and which need to be negotiated.

  5. As the meetings progress, other professionals such as accountants, business appraisers, certified divorce financial analysts, accountants, real estate agents and/or and mental health professionals can be brought into the meetings to assist the spouses in reaching agreements. These professionals remain neutral during the collaborative process. With the help of these professionals working together with the parties, the spouses can make the best-informed decisions that are focused on the specific needs of their family.

    • Certified Divorce Financial Analysts – Certified divorce financial analysts are neutrals who help you and your spouse have a better understanding of what your finances may look like post-divorce. In this way, these financial neutrals help support you and your spouse by helping you understand your cash flow and financial situation as you negotiate a fair division of your assets and debts and calculation of support issues.
    • Mental Health Professional – These professionals often serve as the facilitators in joint collaborative discussions with you and your spouse and your attorneys. They help diffuse the emotional issues that may arise between the two of you during the collaborative divorce process meetings. These professionals also remain neutral as you and your spouse discuss parenting and financial issues and do not represent either you or your spouse.
    • Child Specialist/ Parenting Coordinator – In addition to the mental health professional, a child specialist or parenting coordinator may be involved to support you and your spouse in the collaborative process. This specialist may support the two of you and your child to have a smoother transition during this emotional time. As a parenting coordinator, a mental health professional assists you both as the parents in developing a parenting place that is focused on the best interests of your child and your family while addressing each of your concerns as a parent.
    • Real Estate Broker/ Business Appraisers/ Accountants– All of these financial professionals help support you and your spouse, in a neutral way, to handle the various aspects of the division of your marital property and debt as far as the valuation or sale or transfer and/or tax implications of the division of the marital estate.

Collaborative divorce is an option for couples who feel they can work their divorce settlement themselves but still want legal protection. Although not right for everyone, collaborative divorce allows parties to end the marriage but retain a functional relationship during and after divorce.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at lmjmyers@cs.com.

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Picking a Divorce Mediator | Divorce Done Differently in PA

10 Things To Consider When Picking a Divorce Mediator

Facing the end of your marriage can be a very stressful life transition, especially if children are involved. Deciding how to move forward with the process can add stress and confusion. Do you choose to hire an attorney and divorce through the courts or find a divorce mediator? Below are some important things to consider when picking a divorce mediator.

Picking a Divorce Mediator

Divorce mediation is a more cost effective and peaceful way than hiring an attorney for couples to transition from one household to two as their marriage ends. Through divorce mediation, couples can avoid costly, painful, lengthy court battles. The couple negotiates the settlement of all the issues involved in their divorce with the assistance of a divorce mediator. Their mediator will help facilitate settlement discussions without the traditional costly legal expenses of the divorce and custody courts.
In order for the divorce mediation process to be successful, picking a divorce mediator that is right for both of you is important. Most divorce mediators offer a consultation for all those involved to determine if the process and the mediator are the right fit for the couple.

Here are ten points you should consider in deciding if divorce mediation is the right fit for both of you and if your divorce mediator is capable of helping you both through your divorce.

1. How much does divorce mediation cost?

Divorce mediation is more cost effective because the couple will not be paying two lawyers to communicate for them but will be speaking directly to one another with the assistance of one mediator. You should ask your mediator how they charge for consultations and their services up front.

Most divorce mediators have different fee structures that allow the couple to plan for and understand exactly what the cost of their mediation will be.
Fees for divorce mediation vary depending on the complexity of the marital estate and issues at hand to be settled. After the initial consultation, the divorce mediator will quote a fee for a service that will meet the couples’ needs. If the couple wants to proceed with mediation, an agreement will be signed between the parties and the divorce mediator outlining the fee structure and the services the fee covers. The fee agreement should also cover what happens with the payment and refund of fees in the event that the mediation stops midstream either because the process stalls, one person digs in their heels or leaves the process, or the parties decide to take a break. These questions may also be raised at the initial consultation.

2. How does divorce mediation work?

This should definitely be outlined by your divorce mediator during the consultation. You should ask your divorce mediator how their mediation process works.

Generally, once the couple has retained their divorce mediator, the mediator will give the parties a list of documents and information that must be gathered. Once the information is gathered, the divorce mediator will schedule the mediation sessions to discuss the issues to be resolved.

Once agreements on all the issues have been reached, the terms and conditions of the settlement are reduced to either a memorandum of understanding which is not legally binding or a marital settlement agreement which is legally binding. The difference in these two agreements is whether or not your mediator is a licensed attorney who can prepare a legally binding settlement agreement.

The last step will be for the parties to file the final divorce paperwork with the court. Many mediators offer to assist clients with this process through their staff but the mediator will not represent them in the courts during this process.

3. How long does divorce mediation take?

A divorce mediator should be able to give you a time range for the completion of a mediation. However, generally it depends on the couples’ timeline. Generally the divorce mediation process itself takes between three to six months.

The finalization of the divorce depends on the laws of the state.

4. What are some of the benefits of divorce mediation over going through the courts?

Your divorce mediator should be able to give a long list of reasons why divorce mediation will benefit you both in the long run.

Generally, the process is much more predictable. You will have an idea when the divorce mediation process will start and end. You will have control over the possible outcomes of the mediation process.

There is no such predictability in the courts. Couples do not have control over how the courts will rule in their case even if their lawyer can give them a best case scenario.

5. Is divorce mediation legally binding?

Divorce mediators who are serving a party strictly as a mediator and who are not licensed to practice law can only draft memorandums of understanding memorializing the terms and conditions agreed upon by the couple in divorce mediations. A memorandum of understanding is not a legally binding document per se. In order to create a legally binding marital settlement agreement incorporating all the terms and conditions agreed upon as outlined in a memorandum of understanding, the couple must take the memorandum to a licensed attorney to draft a legally binding marital settlement agreement or if their mediator is a licensed attorney, the divorce mediator can serve as a drafter of the legally binding marital settlement agreement as well.

You will need to ask you mediator if they will be able to prepare your marital settlement agreement or only a memorandum of understanding.

6. Is divorce mediation the right answer for both of you?

The divorce mediator should be able to give you an idea if mediation will work for both of you after the initial consultation.

Divorce mediation is for those couples who are committed to reaching mutually agreeable and beneficial agreements within the divorce settlement negotiations. Mediation is not for those couples seeking revenge or punishment of the other party.

Divorce mediation will not be successful unless the parties are willing to compromise. Having a “my way or the highway” attitude will doom the success of any divorce mediation from the start.

7. Will divorce mediation change my relationship with my ex?

Any good divorce mediator will tell you that their goal is to improve communications between the couple for the long run. This is accomplished by the divorce mediator facilitating and modeling productive, neutralizing communications for the divorcing couple.

However, if one spouse (or both ) is violent, has severe mental health issues or severe substance abuse issues, a mediator may advise couples to seek other avenues for resolving their divorce.

8. Is divorce mediation public?

Divorce mediation sessions are private and confidential. The parties meet with the divorce mediator in the mediator’s office. The couple never has to go to the public courts to settle their divorce other than to file their final divorce paperwork which is generally sealed by the courts as well.

9. Do I still need a lawyer to represent me in mediation?

Ending a marriage is a legal process. Most divorce mediators will not encourage lawyers to attend mediation sessions. In fact some mediators prohibit their clients from having legal representation during the mediation process. However all divorce mediators recommend that their clients consult with a divorce attorney to ensure that their clients are well informed of their legal rights. In addition, clients will need a divorce attorney to either prepare or review their final marital settlement agreement.

10. Ask your divorce mediator why divorce mediation with them as your mediator will benefit you as a couple.

As you are in the process of picking a divorce mediator, you should ask during the consultation why they think mediation is the right fit for you and your spouse.
You should also ask your divorce mediator about their professional experience and their success rate with mediation cases reaching final settlement. Raise any issues or concerns you have about the possibility of success or failure in your mediation with your divorce mediator.

In the end, you are picking a divorce mediator who is right for you if you both feel a connection with the divorce mediator personally and feel confident in their ability. If you are both committed to settling your divorce in an amicable way that benefits both of you, then dive in; mediation waters can be very healing.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at lmjmyers@cs.com.

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Common Questions About Divorce Mediation

Can Divorce Mediation Work For Me and Why?

If your marriage is coming to an end, this can be a very stressful life transition, especially if there are children involved. Many couples think that their only option is to “lawyer up” during a divorce. What most couples don’t realize as they start down this road is that this can be a very expensive proposition. Once a lawyer is hired to represent someone in a custody or divorce suit, they will be paying for every single phone call, email or paper their attorney and/or their support staff touches in their case. So if your lawyer charges the going rate of $300 per hour or $75 to $150 per hour for their staff, you will be billed for every tenth of an hour each of these professionals spend on your one email sent. That means one email could cost you $100 or more. Those kind of expenses may not be in everyone’s budget.

But there is a better way- Divorce Mediation. Mediation is a much more cost effective and peaceful way for couples to transition from one household to two as their marriage ends. Through divorce mediation, couples can avoid costly, painful, lengthy court battles. The couples, not the courts, will negotiate the settlement of all the issues involved in their divorce including property matters, support payments and custody sharing. This is accomplished through the assistance of a divorce mediator who will help facilitate settlement discussions between the couple without the traditional costly legal expenses of the divorce and custody courts.

Most divorce mediators have different fee structures that allow the couple to plan for and understand exactly what the cost of their divorce mediation will be. In addition, divorce mediation is more cost effective because the couple will not be paying two lawyers to communicate for them but will be speaking directly to one another with the assistance of one divorce mediator.

Common Questions About Divorce Mediation

Below are some answers to common questions about divorce mediation that I hear. These may help you determine if mediation is right for you.

What if my spouse and I don’t talk?

Divorce mediators are skilled at facilitating peaceful conversations between divorcing couples. So long as the couple is committed to resolving their differences in a more amicable way instead of through the adversarial process of the courts, divorce mediation can work for most couples. This is because divorce mediation actually helps instill in couples a better way to communicate about important issues. This can be very helpful for the couple going forward as they may face future difficult conversations such as those surrounding their children even after the divorce mediation ends. In addition, a divorce mediator will often encourage each person to have their own emotional support such as a therapist who can also help the couples learn better communication skills individually.

What if I am afraid of my spouse?

A divorce mediator works to establish a safe space for both parties to discuss important issues in their divorce. A skilled divorce mediator serves as neutral facilitator who will intervene during difficult discussions in order to balance any power struggles between the couples surrounding the issue being discussed. However, if there has been any domestic violence between the parties, divorce mediation may not be the best route to settle divorce issues.

Can I consult with an attorney before I begin divorce mediation?

It can be helpful to consult with an attorney to understand what you may be entitled to under the law during a divorce. However, any attorney will tell you that there are no guarantees in court. In addition, couples can decide what works best for them and their family in their marital settlement agreement which does not have to follow any particular court guidelines.

Can I take an attorney to represent me at the divorce mediation?

Attorneys may be consulted outside of the divorce mediation sessions but the parties can’t participate in mediation sessions if they are represented by attorneys in certain states. If a person wants to try a peaceful settlement route but still wants to retain an attorney, they may consider hiring a collaboratively trained lawyer who could represent them in settlement discussions without litigation. However, collaborative law settlements are not as cost effective as divorce mediation settlements.

Is divorce mediation legally binding?

Divorce mediators who are serving a party strictly as a mediator and who are not licensed to practice law can only draft memorandums of understanding memorializing the terms and conditions agreed upon by the couple in divorce mediations. A memorandum of understanding is not a legally binding document per se. In order to create a legally binding marital settlement agreement incorporating all the terms and conditions agreed upon as outlined in a memorandum of understanding, the couple must take the memorandum to an attorney to draft a legally binding marital settlement agreement or if the mediator is a licensed attorney, the divorce mediator can serve as a drafter of the legally binding marital settlement agreement as well.

Why is divorce mediation better than going to court?

The courts are adversarial. They teach people how to fight. The decisions made in court are the result of what the lawyers and the judges say not what the parties want or decide. If the couple has children, the adversarial court system can cause even more bitterness between the couple which can make co-parenting even more difficult which in turn can be very harmful to the children involved.

In short, it may be worthwhile for any couple facing divorce to consider investigating mediation as an option. Contact me if you have further questions about divorce mediation.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options, including divorce mediation. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at lmjmyers@cs.com.

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Lenore Myers Answers Questions About Divorce Mediation | Divorce Done Differently in PA

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Creating Peace in Divorce Conflicts

Creating peace…Letting go of expectations

Creating peace starts with simply letting a seed be planted. Letting a seed be planted starts with letting go. A seed cannot be planted unless the plant in which it is held lets go. Often when we find ourselves in a situation in which we are angry or upset, it is because we feel disappointed because our expectations have not been met. But by holding on to those unfulfilled expectations we do not allow for growth and beauty in the situation. If we let go of unmet expectations that have resulted in pain and grief, we allow the seeds of peace to float away to be planted.

Much like the seeds of a milkweed that float in the air in an elusive way to land where they may. As those freed seeds find their way to be planted, a beautiful plant will grow to nourish the world with beauty and bounty. The butterfly will come to sip the nectar of its flowers and be nourished to go off to pollinate other plants that grow and provide sustenance for others. The butterfly eggs that will be laid on the plant will become caterpillars that will be nourished, grow, and cocoon to become butterflies themselves, to later fly off to nourish and build the world.

Can you imagine putting this in the context of a family going through the transition of a divorce or separation. If the partners simply let go of their painful feelings surrounding their unmet needs and expectations in favor of planting seeds of peace, can you imagine the result? If partners allow these seeds of peace to be planted and help them to grow within the family as a newly planted peace, it can nourish the whole family in a myriad of ways. As the new family peace is nurtured, the ex-partners can be nourished and their wounds healed by the new peace that has bloomed. In their new unconflicted state, they can go forth to nurture and cultivate peace and prosperity in the rest of the world as well.

In this newly-grown peaceful environment, children can have their needs met with a sense of abundance rather than lack. Within this abundant environment, the children will be allowed to cocoon in a safe nurturing environment. This in turn will allow them to grow into healed individuals who can one day spread their beautiful wings forth in their life to help pollinate and nourish the creation of a more peaceful world.

Imagine. This is all possible with a simple act of letting go. What pain can you let go of today to be replaced by peace?

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at lmjmyers@cs.com.

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Two wine glasses being filled with pure water | Peace in the Divorce Process and the power of the words "Would you consider?" | Divorce Done Differently in PA

How to Find Peace in the Divorce Process

Would you consider…?

I remember a few years ago I went to a seminar where there was a speaker, Henry Yampolsky, Esq., who is the cofounder of the Living Peace Institute. His lecture was about how to bring peace into a situation. During the lecture he said three words that changed how I approach many conflicted situations. The words are “Would you consider…?” These three simple words are more powerful than you can imagine. They immediately shift conversations away from… “I have something that you want and you can’t have it”…. “I am right and you are wrong”….. “I have power and you don’t.”

These words are like a cool glass of water in a desert. I know this to be true because I experimented with it the next week. I was involved in a very nasty, contentious estate matter with a very aggressive attorney on the other side. Our correspondences up until this part had been very accusatory and defensive over a period of almost two years. This time I started out with saying that I know both of your clients have been in a lot of pain and I would like to see them no longer suffer, “so would you consider …..?” and I laid out my resolution. I was blown away when this attorney who had always responded to me in a very argumentative way during the whole time we had been trying to resolve the case, responded in a very conciliatory way that he agreed the parties had been through enough and agreed to accept my proposal to settle the case. He did a 180 degree turnabout after I had just approached him with these three little words… “would you consider?”

Now imagine this in the context of family where the couple is separating or divorcing.
–Where parties are often drawing hard lines in the sand or offering up ultimatums.
–Where each person feels like they are unempowered.
–Where each party feels like the other is trying to take something from them rather than offering to share the decisions.

Imagine using a simple phrase that says … “I respect you…. You have a say in this decision… I want to share.” Can you imagine what a healing balm this could be to the wounds that each person feels have been inflicted upon them and from which they are suffering?

If each person can look at the situation as if there is a pitcher of water that they have filled from which each offers the other to have their glasses filled, can you imagine how this could shift the discussions between them as they transition apart?

So would you consider … reaching out a hand in peace?

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at lmjmyers@cs.com.

Let’s Talk

Wheels and Cogs | Divorce Mediation Costs | Divorce Done Differently in PA

Divorce Mediation Costs

Divorce mediation costs vary greatly. They can depend on whether you have a court ordered mediator or privately hired mediator. A divorce mediator who is privately hired can charge on an hourly or flat fee basis.

Court Ordered Mediation

In a court ordered mediation, fees are generally set by the court. The time allotted for the court ordered mediation is generally limited. A court ordered family law mediation session is often mandated by the court in a custody case.

Private Divorce Mediation Costs

Many private divorce mediation fees are set on a flat fee basis where one fee is set for a complete package of services and mediation sessions. The range of services that can be included in a flat fee divorce mediation service can cover a number of areas from property distribution, support matters and/or custody, to possible assistance in the preparation of a marital settlement agreement or memorandum of understanding and/or divorce court paperwork.

A flat fee mediation service package generally assists parties in gathering documentation on the areas to be mediated and includes several mediation sessions to discuss and reach an agreement on those issues.

Flat fee mediation can also include the preparation of either a memorandum of understanding or a marital settlement agreement. A memorandum of understanding is simply a non-binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of agreement reached by the parties. The mediator does not have to be an attorney to prepare this document. A marital settlement agreement includes all of the terms and conditions of agreement reached by the parties but it is a legally binding contract that must be prepared by a mediator who is an attorney.

In both situations the parties are encouraged to consult with a separate attorney to advise each party concerning the legal terms and condition of either a memorandum of understanding or marital settlement agreement. The fee for a separate attorney is not included in flat fee mediation packages.

In addition, flat fee divorce mediation can also include assistance in the preparation of divorce documents for the court in order to obtain a final decree of divorce. Filing fees for court, appraisal fees for real estate or retirement funds and the cost for preparation of other court document such as deeds of transfer or Qualified Domestic Relations orders (QDRO) are also generally not included in the costs charged for flat fee mediation packages.

A flat fee divorce mediation package can range in cost from $6,500 to $10,000 depending on the number of issues to be discussed and settled and the complexity of the marital estate to be settled.

Some divorce mediators will offer piecemeal or unbundled services such as one mediation session to discuss one issue like support or custody or as follow up to a previously conducted large scope flat fee mediation where a new issue has arisen. The general hourly rate for such divorce mediation services ranges from $250 to $400 per hour.

Divorce mediation is generally much less expensive than divorce litigation or even the cost of two people each hiring a divorce attorney to help settle their divorce.

A private divorce mediator will often offer consultations either free of charge or for a reasonable consultation fee to discuss your case to help you decide what type of divorce mediation services best suit your situation and the divorce mediation cost for that service.

Contact Divorce Done Differently for King of Prussia Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation costs are typically lower than the cost of litigation and mediation has many advantages, including allowing parties more control over their divorce resolution. As an attorney mediator, I offer creative solutions to meet each client’s unique legal, financial, and emotional needs. To set up a consultation or learn more about available services, contact me today at 215-470-3121.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at lmjmyers@cs.com.

Let’s Talk

Child running through field with hula hoop | Airing of differences and raising healthy children | Divorce Done Differently in PA

Co-Parenting Amid COVID

Co- parenting amid COVID has been challenging in so many ways.

In the beginning, some parents took the quarantine restrictions so literally that one parent was often denied any custody by the other parent. Some parents even went so far as to keep children from the other parent simply because the other parent worked in health care and was at greater risk of being exposed to COVID. This breakdown in co-parenting amid COVID led many parents to miss out on precious time with their children until the overburdened court system could step in to set things straight.

Parents also became distrustful of and hypervigilant in how the other parent was following COVID restrictions and guidelines. This led to many disagreements and court filings. As people began to receive more information about COVID and restrictions began to be lifted, parents seemed to ease their fearful grip on their children spending time with the other parent.

Education and Co-Parenting Amid COVID

However, other issues in co-parenting amid COVID started to rise to the surface especially where remote learning became the norm. Not all parents were available to ensure that their child was logging in to attend school. School computers and other school materials had to be exchanged between parents who were not the most cooperative or communicative.

The strain of COVID restrictions also has taken its toll on the children themselves. During COVID, parents have been faced with co-parenting as their children suffered from issues such as depression, anxiety etc. or with learning issues without the benefit of hands-on school supports.

Counseling services that usually have helped to support parents resolve co-parenting issues have been limited or remote during COVID.

Family Time and Co-Parenting Amid COVID

However, it has not been all bad. In some respects co-parenting during COVID has brought out some parents’ better angels. Some parents have been able to focus and work through some communication and co-parenting issues because they had no other choice. For those parents who did work on their co-parenting skills the examples they set for their children added to supporting their children emotionally and in other ways during this crisis. The children got to spend more one-on-one time with both parents during the quarantine and other restrictions.  

Parents who had to work from home were given a chance to be more of the primary caretaker than they may have had an opportunity to be in the past. With a moratorium on extracurricular activities, families were forced to spend time together doing activities to fill their free time rather than engaging in organized activities with a lot of other people. The reduction in activities for the children in some respect reduced the stress on the parents to coordinate schedules etc. Families got a chance to slow down and enjoy each other’s company.

Lastly, co-parenting during COVID has allowed parents and everybody else to take a deep breath and be thankful for their loved ones around them and the time they have had with them.

Contact Divorce Done Differently for King of Prussia Custody Issue Resolution

Co-parenting amid COVID has made some custody issues more complicated, but caring parents can make critical decisions together in a way that offers the best situation for their children. As an attorney mediator I offer creative solutions to meet each client’s unique legal, financial, and emotional needs. To set up a consultation or learn more about available services, contact me today at 215-470-3121.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at lmjmyers@cs.com.

Let’s Talk

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Location

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