Next Page Mediation

My journey to mediation

By Jim Robenalt

In providing a mediation service, I am seeking to provide a compassionate, peaceful and cost-effective alternative for families going through a difficult transition. 

I came to mediation following a 15-year career in litigation because I wanted to offer support to families that the court-system simply could not provide. I experienced first-hand the true cost of litigation – both personally and professionally. As an adult, I witnessed my own parents go through a protracted divorce litigation that was emotionally devastating for our family. As a professional, I knew the ins-and-outs of litigation that made the path of dispute resolution more painful, more inefficient, and more expensive for those litigating.

There are many transitions in life, a good number of which are well supported. We enjoy celebrations, gifts and encouragement when we graduate from school, get married or have a child. We receive condolences and emotional care when a family member dies. But when there’s a divorce, too often the transition is shrouded in fear and isolation. Divorcing individuals feel the immediate press to call a lawyer and initiate an expensive litigation process that often drains them emotionally and financially. During litigation, there is also the issue of distorted communication. Once you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse hire lawyers, you are communicating through those lawyers and are often forced to partake in a formal process of disclosure and discovery.

With a traditional divorce, imagine how distressing it is answering a lawyer’s questions about private family matters as a court reporter records every word? Or walking through the sterile halls of courthouse, going through security scans, and attending a public court hearing before a judge in which any member of the public can attend? Or knowing that a significant portion of your assets are being siphoned off to cover mounting attorney fees?

Wall graffiti For your safety and our curiosity with camera exemplifying the prying nature of divorce

In providing a mediation service, my hope is to provide a compassionate, peaceful and cost-effective alternative for families. The benefits multiply when children are involved. By deciding to participate in mediation, you agree to have a discussion with your spouse in a private setting about the future of your family. I will help guide you through the process, step-by-step. But ultimately, you know best about the particulars of your family: What are the needs of your children? How will you decide on a parenting schedule? Where will the children be for holidays and special occasions? How do you want to handle a division of assets and debts? What do you want to do with the family home?

Divorce mediation provides a guided path to resolution for a life transition that impacts so many families. It’s a process that is particularly friendly to children, who too often absorb the negative impacts of divorce. To successfully navigate this transition, you need a good deal of compassion and support. You need someone to calmly walk you through the process. You need the opportunity to communicate directly with your spouse about a plan for your family going forward. Because it will be your plan – not one negotiated by lawyers or handed down by a judge – you and your soon-to-be-ex will be more willing to follow the plan and less inclined to continue fighting into the future.

How you choose to handle this transition will determine how you go forward in life. My hope is that by offering a mediation service, I am offering couples a more hopeful and constructive path that will benefit their families for decades to come

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