Divorce Mediation - A Constructive Means to a Fair Settlement

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TWO TRUTHS about MEDIATION

As a psychotherapist of more than 25 years experience dealing with couples and families, I've learned two crucial truths about divorce:

  • Even though divorce is an emotional process, it doesn't have to be destructive.
  • It is possible to reach a fair and just settlement, even though there are difficult or sensitive issues to be resolved.

MEDIATION IS A POSITIVE ALTERNATIVE

Divorcing couples usually assume that there must be conflict between them. Often there is. But even couples who have reached an angry impasse can benefit from divorce mediation.

  • It avoids pitting the couple as adversaries
  • It offers a rational, less expensive means of resolving the issues of property division, child custody, child support and spousal support.

Divorce mediation avoids finding fault and fixing blame. Instead, it is an educational process. Couples objectively analyze their needs and resources. By planning together, with the assistance of the mediator, they are able to reach an agreement that's best for both-financially, legally and emotionally.

Each party uses his and her own standards of fairness. So in the end both win because nobody loses.

WITH A MEDIATOR, COUPLES HAVE FREE CHOICE, NOT ARBITRARY JUDGMENTS

The mediator is an impartial third party. Nothing is forced under mediation. Nor is anything mandated by a judge except the final decree. The mediator:

  • Provides the structure which helps the couple gather pertinent information.
  • Facilitates communication between the parties.
  • Offers alternatives to aid resolution of differences
  • Drafts a memorandum of agreement which reflects the decisions of the couple.

Each person agrees to every point as it is considered. And by talking each issue through with the mediator, the couple finds solutions of their own choosing.

MEDIATION HAS A POSITIVE EFFECT ON CHILDREN

Studies have shown that children fare better and adjust more readily with mediated agreements.

  • Their parents learn the means to deal with their differences better under mediation
  • They are less hostile towards each other, so the children are less likely to blame themselves for their parents marital conflict and breakup.

Under mediation, agreements are mutual concerning parenting (custody and visitation), which means that they are most often kept and are more readily re-negotiated when necessary rather than re-litigated.

MEDIATION AND THE LEGAL ISSUES

An advisory attorney is consulted who provides information and guidance on legal matters.

  • Matters concerning property
  • Tax considerations
  • Drafting of all the papers required in filing for divorce.

FURTHER BENEFITS OF MEDIATION

  • Divorce mediation allows both parties to have a better sense of self determination and self respect.
  • The couples usually spends less money because communication is directly between the parties rather than through their lawyers.
  • The settlement agreement is more often honored because the couple are more satisfied with the outcome. This in turn leaves them in a much better position to begin their lives anew after the divorce.
  • THE MEDIATOR

    Mediation combines Gloria Fraser's expertise in working with couples and families with an interest in law and skill in practical problem solving.

    Trained as a psychotherapist with a B.A. in psychology and an M.S.W. from Smith College, Mrs. Fraser studies family therapy for four years at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Family Studies Section.

    She has been in private practice in San Francisco since 1973. She has developed and run two family therapy programs as well as couples communication groups and groups for separating and divorcing individuals. Mrs. Fraser also consults and speaks on these topics.

    Her formal mediation training was provided by the Family Mediation Association, which qualifies her a Fellow of the Academy of Family Mediators. She brings commitment to her work as a mediator, seeing mediation as an exciting, positive alternative method of resolving disputes between divorcing couples.

    Gloria Fraser
    (415) 397-6232

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