Helping Couples Meet Halfway Through Divorce Mediation
At Susan Wakefield Mediation, I can help couples communicate their respective needs and concerns to reach an agreement. I am an attorney and a mediator providing divorce mediation services, be it in-person or virtual.
Why Choose Divorce Mediation?
Seeing the Brighter Side
Mediation emphasizes that divorce is not the end of the family, but a reorganization of how the family operates. Issues concerning divorce are emotional and personal and not just legal.
Prioritizing Children Involved
Research indicates that the successful adjustment of children following separation and divorce is directly related to the level of cooperation between parents and their continued involvement in the lives of their children.
Mediation encourages participants to see themselves and each other as capable parents with a continuing responsibility to plan together for the future of their children.
Successful Parenting After Divorce
I can help design a parenting plan that works for each family. Mediation lessens the tension between couples and allows them to work together as parents.
Taking Advantage of Affordable Fees
Mediation is generally more affordable because both spouses meet with one mediator. Since it is voluntary, participation is a choice; couples can stop at any time they wish.
Reducing Emotional Burdens
Both parties must find the terms fair to have a winning approach to divorce that benefits the spouses and the children. The stress and anxiety associated with divorce, particularly for children, can be reduced.
Having Control Over Outcomes
Self-determination that leads to control over the outcome promotes positive, lasting results for everyone. Those who have participated in creating the terms of their divorce agreement are more likely to follow them than those whose decision has been made for them by a judge.
Creating Personalized Terms
Couples who choose mediation can create their agreements rather than allow others to make decisions for them. Their agreement includes everything important to them.
Setting the Pace
With mediation, couples can set their pace, which means the process can be slow or rapid as they would like. They won’t be frustrated by court delays or pressured to meet court-imposed deadlines.
Couples can work things out cooperatively, rather than engaging in a stressful, expensive, and contentious divorce.
Learning About the Process
Divorce mediation is a process in which separating spouses negotiate the terms of their settlement with the help of an impartial third party, a divorce mediator. Their understanding is then memorialized in writing by the mediator in their final divorce agreement.
Focusing on the Future
Instead of dwelling in the past, mediation will help couples focus on the future. This is a positive process that keeps them moving forward.
Addressing Divorce’s Emotional Side
Although mediation is not therapy, it provides an arena better able to address the emotional side of divorce. It takes place in a safe, comfortable, and non-adversarial setting based on cooperation, voluntary disclosure, and mutual decision-making.
Mediation can turn a difficult, stressful, and emotional situation into a more positive experience.
Answering Frequently Asked Questions
During my initial consultation with a couple, they often ask questions, such as, “Is mediation right for us? Will we be successful? Is this a waste of time since we aren't always able to agree?”
Here are the answers to those:
Mediation requires participation, willingness, and the ability to make concessions. No one ever gets everything they want.
Each spouse must be able to communicate and participate at some level, recognizing that, oftentimes, one spouse has more knowledge of the finances than the other or greater access to information than the other. I make certain each spouse has what they need in terms of information and financial documents to make informed decisions.
The couple must be committed to working things out “fairly” for everyone concerned, focusing on the best interests of the family.
Each party must be willing to listen to the other, even if they do not agree with what they hear.
Determining the Outcome of Mediation
The success of divorce mediation will depend on the couple and their level of commitment and cooperation. They should also recognize any alternative can be costly in every way.
Guided by An Experienced Mediator
Although most divorce mediators are attorneys, some are not and therefore cannot prepare certain legal documents. As an attorney mediator I can not only prepare the required forms and paperwork needed, I can also prepare the final divorce agreement for both parties. This reduces the cost of having two lawyers.
I encourage couples to meet in the middle and find common grounds without making decisions or providing legal advice to either spouse. I can however, offer general advice about the law based on my 35 years of experience practicing divorce and family law.
A skilled and experienced attorney mediator can help each spouse share their feelings and concerns in a safe and respectful environment. They do so without letting emotion control any of the decision-making.
Limited Mediation Coaching
Limited mediation coaching offers divorcing couples a unique and affordable alternative to full mediation services. The couple and the mediator will discuss and determine how the work needing to be done such as preparing paperwork to start the divorce is shared which can save time and reduce costs.
Going Through the Process With an Experienced Attorney Mediator
The attorney mediator will provide legal expertise and guidance in specific areas, such as:
Preparing and Filing the Divorce Papers
Discussing and Outlining the Custody and Parenting Plan With Their Spouse
Organizing Financial Records
Preparing Their Financial Affidavits
What Do Couples Do?
I offer couples the option to save time and reduce costs by encouraging them to manage certain parts of their case they are most comfortable with, including:
Calculating Child Support and Alimony
Preparing the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet
Drafting the Divorce Agreement
Preparing the Couple for Court Conferences if required
Why Choose Limited Mediation Coaching?
They also seek guidance and support from a third-party, impartial mediator to assist them with the parts of their case they both agree they need help with, and which require legal expertise. Through this limited mediation approach, the couple and mediator continue to work together toward a successful outcome.
With limited mediation coaching, couples may also “pay as they go” rather than having to pay a large retainer upfront which many cannot afford.
Reach Out to Me
Get in touch with me for a free 30-minute phone consultation. I offer flexible payment options for your convenience.
“At one of the most difficult and challenging times in my life, I was fortunate enough to meet Attorney Susan Wakefield. Not only is she a top-notch legal expert who demonstrated skill and attention to detail with regard to legal documents, forms, court submissions, and motions, but she also was adept at helping a client who was overwhelmed understand options and navigate a complex legal system.
She was a consistently strong advocate for my rights while providing compassionate counsel at a time when emotions were high, and it would have been easy to become overwhelmed. She was responsive both professionally and personally, and provided clear, empathetic guidance for communicating with my ex-spouse and child in a sensitive manner. Competent, trustworthy, honest, and direct, she was an expert in property division and protected me from useless litigation. Her skill at streamlining the legal process and her focused strategy to achieve the best possible result were also impressive.
I would recommend Attorney Wakefield without question or hesitation.”