Divorcing and Parenting

Mediation for an Uncontested Divorce

In today’s economy, many unhappily married people are seeking the cheapest way possible to get divorced.   If you fall in this category, you have come to the right place, but maybe not for the reasons you think.  In actuality, an uncontested divorce has the potential to be the most expensive divorce of all.

Uncontested divorce may seem the easiest way out.  But, before you seek an uncontested divorce, please answer two questions:

  1. Do you understand the issues well enough to know for certain that you have reached genuine agreement on every aspect of your divorce settlement and parenting plan?
  2. If it is uncontested, should it be?  Are you giving up important rights or values that you shouldn’t?

If you get the answers to these two questions wrong, then a “cheap” divorce can turn out to be devastatingly expensive in the long run.  Mediation with a divorce professional need not be expensive, and it helps ensure that you are entering into divorce with full knowledge of the issues and voluntary agreement on all of them.

At an initial consultation, my goal is to help individuals assess their situation and determine what divorce options are appropriate.  The cost for this consultation is $200.  To learn more, please use the contact form below:

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Mediation of Child Custody and Parenting Plans

You are right to be concerned for the effect your divorce will have on your children.   There is good news and bad news.  First the good news.  Children do not have to be traumatized by divorce.   While changes in living circumstances can be stressful, what traumatizes children the most is parental conflict.  It can actually be a relief to children when parents separate and they are no longer subjected to the stress and anxiety of daily parental conflict.  Now for the bad news.   Exposure to parental conflict has devastating effects on children.  Parents who engage in high conflict litigation and who use their children as pawns in the divorce process do all kinds of emotional damage to their children.  Mediation of child custody and parenting plans can stop this damaging conflict.  Mediation helps parents get back on the same page as parents.

If you or your children are experiencing the effects of parental conflict, please call me today at 803-414-0185,  to see if I can help.  Read More

What Is A Mediator?

The purpose of this post is to answer the question, “What is a mediator?”  A mediator is a trusted, neutral person who facilitates a process designed to empower parties to recognize find their own, satisfactory solutions to intractable conflict. Each word in the sentence above has important meaning.

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What Does a Mediator Do?

I help families manage transitions (divorce, elder planning, adoptions, custody issues, etc.) in ways that are intended to reduce conflict and build consensus.  Mediation is a new paradigm for conflict resolution, and I encourage you to learn more.

You do not need to already be in agreement to use a mediator!  It is my job to help you reach authentic agreement – peacefully, respectfully, and confidentially.

While I cannot guarantee a particular result in a particular case,  I sincerely believe most clients find that non-adversarial processes result in less stress, better long term relationships, more understanding,  hopefully truly better results, and (as a side effect) lower cost.

Feel free to ask any questions (or to request an appointment) by calling 803-414-0185 during business hours, or by filling out the form below.

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If you do not receive a reply within one business day, please telephone 803-414-0185 between 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM, EST.

If you desire a one-half hour consultation for $50, please click the appropriate PayPal link, below, in addition to sending the above information.


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Would You Like to Learn More About Mediated Divorce or Collaborative Divorce?

Divorce mediation and collaborative divorce are options for people who want to avoid courtroom battle, but who at the same time don’t want to cut corners on thoroughness or fairness. 

Mediated divorce, in general, costs significantly less than the cost of a litigated divorce.  How much?  Rumor is  that it’s somewhere in the range of 10 – 20% the cost of litigation.   Collaborative divorce costs roughly half the cost of litigation.  But while this cannot be guaranteed in any given case,  the primary goal of mediation isn’t to save money.  

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Can Child Support be Mediated?

Yes.

The court always maintains jurisdiction to oversee child support, but there are many aspects that can be mediated.  This could range from setting an initial amount, agreeing to modification, or (in the case of arrearage) setting out the terms by which the amount overdue might be made up or even forgiven in part (if that is appropriate).  Once parties agree to the modified terms, this should be taken to the court for approval.  Because the mediated terms are uncontested, however, court action to seek ratification of the agreement will be  less expensive than a court battle.  The advantage of mediation is not just to save time and expense, however.  A key advantage of mediation is that it allows for better solutions.

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FOR YOUR DIVORCE, DO YOU NEED A SHERMAN TANK OR JUST A TAXI CAB?

Imagine that the road to divorce is like getting from one side of New York City (married) to the other side of New York City (divorced). You’re not sure how to get there, so you need some help from someone who does.

Most people just go hire an attorney who files papers in court and proceeds with litigation to decide every issue which must be resolved in order to “resolve” the financial and parenting issues of the parties.  This is effective, but it might be a bit like hiring a Sherman Tank and a contingent of marines to guide your way.

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Need A Divorce but Cannot Afford an Attorney?

(Laws and resources for divorce vary from state to state.  This post is not intended as legal advice, and the resources listed here are specific to residents of South Carolina.  However, some general principles may apply. )

THE TRUTH:   

IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD AN ATTORNEY, YOU MOST LIKELY CAN’T AFFORD A DIVORCE

While paying a professional to help with your divorce is one first step, there’s more to the cost of divorce than just paying a lawyer.  

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

A.  Fairness is Important!

First of all, be forewarned.  Divorce is not free or cheap.  What’s worse, pennies saved now may cost pounds later.   The terms of your divorce may determine the future course of the rest of your lives.  For instance, if you fail to negotiate a fair property settlement, that may impact your ability to retire some day.  If both parents fail to protect their children from the repercussions of divorce, the dynamics of  your family may be impacted not only for your generation, but for future generations.  It’s important to get it right.  When you are strapped for cash, however, this can be a real challenge.   In this article, I hope to give struggling folks some ideas that will help keep pennies in the family pocket, but help you aim toward a fair result.   Read More

Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation

The following standards of practice have been adopted by the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), by the American Bar Association (ABA), and by the Association of Family Courts and Community Professionals (AFCC).   Adopted by these three organizations, they represent a broad consensus in the field.  This family and divorce mediation practice adheres to these standards.  Your mediator will be happy to discuss any of these standards with you: 

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Introduction to Divorce Mediation

You’ve tried everything to save your marriage.  You don’t hate your spouse, but you’ve both decided that divorce is better than the other alternatives.  You want to be fair, but you’re not quite sure what that means.  One thing is for certain.  You’ve heard how awful the divorce process can be, and you don’t want to end up bankrupting yourself and ending up enemies.

Does this sound like you?  If it does, then divorce mediation may be the answer for you.

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