Mediation is the process of collaborative negotiation and problem-solving. It is designed to address the goals and needs of all the involved parties. Cascade Mediation will do this through structured communication and negotiation in order to develop unique-to-you agreements that are realistic and sustainable.
I facilitate difficult conversations through family and divorce mediation. I help clients look at the contributing factors to their dispute, resolve differences and misunderstandings, and create agreements that can significantly minimize the likelihood of further conflict.
A lot of fear can be generated around seemingly unresolvable conflict. It can be especially frightening when the subject matter is separation, divorce, or creating a parenting plan, as the stakes are high. Often, one spouse does not want a divorce, and it can feel like you have been forced into an uncontrolled free-fall into a dark unknown. In family and divorce mediation, I will assist you in creating a controlled, more informed, collaborative, and cooperative approach to your situation than things have probably been recently.
Legal remedies for legal matters, such as Family Law, are typically sought through the court, also known as litigation. Litigation is a process that usually requires each party to retain an attorney to "fight" for their interests. A litigated divorce currently is taking a minimum of 18 months to navigate the judicial system, and it is not uncommon for a couple to still be married 3 years after they initiate the divorce. Additionally, every divorce is unique, yet no court has the capacity to customize solutions to your family's needs. Your attorney will "fight" to get your needs met, but consider that your spouse's attorney will be doing the same thing, and ultimately, the judge will decide. The outcome is out of your hands. You will have each spent a minimum of $50-100K, significantly reducing the value of your assets, giving up a large chunk of time better suited to healing and moving on, and your relationships will most likely be in worse condition than they were when you started the process.
In divorce mediation, parties retain control of the outcome of their divorce. I begin the process by engaging each spouse in a coaching session where we discuss where you are emotionally and mentally regarding your divorce. We can explore ways to improve your preparedness for mediation so that you feel empowered to represent your interests at the table.
In divorce mediation, you will be given the time and opportunity to create customized agreements around asset and debt division and spousal support. As your mediator, I will direct the conversation to be more productive by helping you communicate your concerns and goals as well as assist you in hearing the concerns and goals of your spouse. By doing this, we create understanding. Understanding does not mean agreement, but it will assist each party to better accept the situation, the other person, and oneself as being less than perfect in stressful circumstances that rarely bring out the best in anyone. From this place, we can begin to develop an agreement that you can minimally live with and optimally even feel good about - and it will take far less time and expense than court.
Currently, if you are filing with the court for the creation of a parenting plan - never married parents or newly divorcing parents, or you need a modification of an existing parenting plan, you will be required to mediate. This is because the court doesn't want to be put in the position of making decisions for your child unless it is necessary for safety reasons. Or you just can't get along enough to agree on anything.
Very often, once someone is ready for a divorce, their opinion of their spouse has taken an unrecoverable blow. It is not so uncommon for a parent to look at their spouse, and because they see them as a bad partner, they quickly translate that into they are a bad parent.
In family and divorce mediation, and in the State of Oregon, it is assumed that both parents are good parents (unless shown through court findings or DHS action otherwise). We will thoroughly discuss all the aspects of a parenting plan and child support to create a working agreement that minimizes the possibility of future conflict. Subjects typically addressed in parenting plan mediation are:
The only enforceable parenting plan is one that is signed by a judge. If you feel like you need mediation to resolve co-parenting issues, take the extra steps to formalize it.
Caveat: If children are involved, I do mediate with a bias towards the child. This does not mean that I will dictate to you your parenting solutions, but I will continually bring the conversation back to the best interest of the child around areas of disagreement.