Mediation provides one of the best settings for parents who wish to shield and protect their children from the potential damage that can occur in the midst of a separation and divorce. In mediation the parents can take extreme care in working out, with the assistance of the mediator, a parenting plan which will keep their children's needs as paramount, and will allow each of them to sustain and even improve their connection with their children.

Mediation supports parenting and provides education and assistance to parents in understanding and working through what children need developmentally in a parenting plan and how to structure the best parenting plan for their children.

Mediation supports parents in thinking through daily parenting issues and gives them ideas for maintaining and providing stability and continuity in their lives.

Mediation helps parents and couples to deescalate the conflict that is natural when parties are coming apart and helps them to refocus and rechannel that energy into reaching a positive outcome which allows both parents/ parties to move forward in their lives.

Mediation is a more economical process than any of the other processes available in the area of divorce and helps parties avoid the many pitfalls of the adversarial process. Instead of paying a large legal retainer it minimizes the cost for parties to reach agreement, thereby allowing parties and families to keep those funds to support their new households, and the parties and childrens' needs.

Mediation is a process that assists parties in finding solutions that maximize their and their children's needs now and later when new issues arise in the future.

Mediation allows couples to find a gentler way of ending a marriage which respects and validates the importance of the relationship and the need to find appropriate ways to say good bye to the marriage.

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Depending on the goals of the parties in mediation, the usual product of the mediation is an agreement which sets forth the intent, understandings and agreements of the parties. If the parties have decided to get a divorce that agreement will resolve the issues of parenting, equitable division of property, child support and spousal support. There are also tax issues related to each of those areas which also would need to be addressed in the agreement.

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In my practice I usually meet with the couples in joint two hour sessions to address the issues that they need to resolve. I also will meet individually with couples in separate caucuses if that is necessary to facilitate and help the parties resolve important issues.

Generally it takes about 3-6 two hour meetings to complete the mediation. That, however, varies depending on the amount and complexity of the parties assets (real property, investments, retirement assets, business interests, etc), the challenge of financially setting up two households, and how congruent the parties are in their views regarding a parenting plan(i.e. living arrangements) for their children.

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In my practice I am comfortable with parties having separate counsel at any stage of the mediation process and strongly encourage my clients to have independent legal review prior to signing any binding agreement. Each case is different in the parties' need for independent counsel. The use of counsel is something that the parties discuss in mediation to find the right balance.

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