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Does Having Your Own Divorce Make You a Better Divorce Coach or Mediator?

Divorce Experience

Divorce Experience

Does having your own personal divorce experience make you a better mediator or divorce coach? So often I see other professionals explaining how they can relate to you because they’ve been through it. They know what to expect and they tell you their personal stories.  Of course there is some value in their divorce experience. But is it a prerequisite?

As someone who has been married for 16 years and does not have my own divorce experience, I would argue that being divorced yourself is most certainly not a requirement to be an effective divorce coach or divorce mediator. In fact, going through your own divorce  may hurt your ability to be a neutral professional.  Divorce is such a painful, life changing disruption and we are only human. Oftentimes I wonder how a mediator can remain neutral if he/she has been through a similar situation as their clients. Everyone has bias’ to begin with.  But add in your own personal divorce experience and the bias may be too much. Of course this doesn’t apply to every situation.

Additionally, someone going through a divorce does not necessarily derive value from hearing about the professional they hire’s personal divorce experience. And, I would venture to say most don’t care. They want to know how you can serve them in their own personal situation.

Your divorce is fundamentally a business transaction. Even with coaching I explain to my clients that their emotions should not play into deciding how to divide their stuff. This only ends up costing them more time and money.  Divorce is painful and the feelings associated with it are legitimate and we deal with them in a constructive way so as not to interfere with you having an efficient divorce.

Please contact divorceharmony.com to learn more about an efficient divorce experience. Whether you are looking for divorce mediation, coaching or document preparation, we can help.

 

 

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Judge or Mediator

Judge or Mediator

Judge or Mediator

ROLE

Mediator’s are often associated with Judges. They are seen as a third person that makes decisions for the two parties involved in a dispute. The reality is a bit more nuanced as mediators generally do not do the same function as a Judge sitting on a bench. The best scenario is when parties themselves come to an agreement themselves on their own terms with the Mediator facilitating the process by helping the parties communicate and identify their needs and goals.

CONTRIBUTIONS 

Since the Mediator is presumably a professional and has mediated many cases before he/she may have the experience to know what works and what generally doesn’t in most situations. The questions becomes does the Mediator put on the Judge hat and share this knowledge early on? By doing so does this threaten the process of the parties own self determination? As an intuitive Mediator and listener, I take this on a case by case basis and really get to know my  clients to see if my input would add value to their mediation. In some cases by speaking up, I can help the parties see something they normally would not have seen. In other cases, speaking up too quickly may just add to the conflict.

Judge or Mediator

Judge or Mediator

LAW

I have to walk a fine line between letting my clients know what the law is and giving legal advice. Even though I am an Attorney, giving actual legal advice would compromise my neutral status. But that doesn’t mean I can’t let them know about past case law and what happens generally in cases similar to theirs. It’s a nice framework to have in mediations.

WHO’S THE AUTHOR?

Many times my clients want me to come up with suggestions. I’m happy to do so, but in a very cautious manner. I don’t want one or both parties to think what I’ve come up with doesn’t benefit them or is biased in some way. I go out of my way to explain my rationale. But I believe this is part of my job as a Mediator to help the parties get to an agreement. So in a way, we do function as Judges but not in the standard way one might think.  Please contact divorceharmony.com for more information.

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Consultation What To Ask

 

Divorce Consultation

Divorce Consultation

1. ASK RIGHT QUESTIONS 

Here at Divorce Harmony we offer a free consultation so potential clients can understand what we offer and if our services are right for them. It’s important to ask the right questions so I will attempt to explain what usually transpires in a typical consultation. First, I offer the consultation free because I look at it like an opportunity for both of us to determine if we are a good fit and I need to make sure that the case is appropriate for mediation or divorce coaching.

Divorce Consultation

Divorce Consultation

2. VIRTUAL

The consultation is virtual like all of our services here at Divorce Harmony so we can schedule at your convenience and can be done from anywhere from the beach to the carpool line or your company’s break room.

3. COMMON QUESTIONS 

The most common question I usually get is how long will the mediation or divorce coaching take. This is an “it depends” kind of question. I have had one hour mediations and I’ve had mediations that have lasted 6 months. The same with divorce coaching. Sometimes a client needs assistance with one particular issue and once we’ve resolved that, their coaching journey is no longer needed. Alternatively some coaching clients do not have a particular focus and may need more generalized guidance.

4. COST

Another issue that should be discussed is cost. We have a very transparent pricing system here with no hidden fees and ridiculous retainers. There is an hourly fee for mediation, coaching and drafting of documents. BUT we do not charge for every phone call or email. We also offer packages. This gives you the opportunity to decide if the pricing works for you.

Divorce Consultation

Divorce Consultation

5. INSTINCT

In the consultation I will discuss my methodologies for mediation or coaching and see if it is in line with what you are looking for. Ultimately, I think it always comes down to whether you feel comfortable with me as a mediator or coach. Do you feel like I can be a neutral, professional third party in your mediation or a supportive, available, savvy, motivational coach in your divorce journey. Please contact divorceharmony.com for more information.

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Divorce Coach??

Divorce Coach near me

Divorce Coach near me

WHAT IS A DIVORCE COACH?

What is a Divorce Coach?? And do you need one? How do I find a Divorce Coach near me? Many people are discovering that a Divorce Coach is an essential member of their team, if not the MVP of the process. A Divorce Coach assists parties to a divorce by offering support, guidance and organization throughout.  They can be attorneys or therapists but it is not required.

WHY? 

I have recently made the decision to add divorce coaching to my services in the hopes that I may help even more people. Often times I’ll have someone come to me that would like to try mediation but unfortunately their partner does not and would rather take the contentious route. I have to begrudgingly turn away that  person because in order to mediate we need both parties to participate.  By offering divorce coaching I can still help that one party have a hopefully successful divorce process. By successful I mean organized, low cost, less acrimonious, better for the kids and less time.

Divorce Coach near me

Divorce Coach near me

NEUTRAL THIRD PARTY

A Divorce Coach is different then your Mother or Best Friend in that he/she will give you neutral advice and not just what you want to hear. Also, your Mother and Best Friend may be too emotionally invested to give you clear guidance. This isn’t a bad thing they probably love you very much and want what’s best but its just not their role. The Coach will help you make the best decisions for your future since the Coach is not emotionally invested.

LOWER ATTORNEY FEES 

As an Attorney as well as a mediator I’m well versed in the legal ins and outs of divorce. I also know that Attorney’s can be ridiculously expensive. Part of coaching entails helping you made decisions and working out responses to emotional decisions in advance so you don’t have to go over it with your Attorney who will charge you an arm and a leg. I can also answer basic legal questions saving you money by not inquiring with your Attorney. Of course, there may be some issues that you will still need to speak to your Attorney with but I can help you break down what those are.

ORGANIZATION 

You are splitting up your entire life and it can be a whirlwind you may not be thinking clearly. Allowing a Divorce Coach assist you in organizing your goals, legal issues, emotions, family, financial concerns can give you back the power in your life. Setting goals and working through the tough stuff in the midst of upheaval can help in the present and for planning the future. Let’s work on a financial plan/career, relationships with your children, how to communicate with your ex-spouse and more. It’s not as difficult when everything is organized, put into a plan and as your Divorce Coach I demand accountability in a supportive way.

RESOURCES 

As a Divorce professional, I have a long list of superior professionals I have been working and collaborating with. I’m happy to refer an Attorney, a financial expert or a mental health expert. None of these may be necessary or all of these may be. It really depends on your particular situation but whatever the case may be I can assist.

Divorce Coach near me

Divorce Coach near me

COST AND TIME

The cost for a Divorce Coach is very reasonable. Unlike an Attorney, not every email and phone conversation is charged. I offer reasonable custom packages depending what your goals are and I am always on call. Additionally, like my mediation practice, everything is done virtually. We have sessions on your time from wherever you choose. Please inquire with divorceharmony.com to learn more.

ULTIMATE CONVENIENCE

In addition to Coaching I can draft and file all of your paperwork if that is something that you are looking for. You would not even have to go to Court! Everything can be filed online.

Divorce Coach near me

Divorce Coach near me

COMMUNICATION

It’s all in the message really. I can help you develop effective communication skills with your ex to facilitate a more pleasant divorce process including figuring out a parenting plan for your Children so their transition is as seamless as possible. And so you can get on with your life and discover your next chapter with a clear head and heart.

I’m excited for 2019 and working with more families and individuals in providing stress free, fast, cost effective divorces. Please contact divorceharmony.com for more information. Happy New Year!

 

 

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Body Language and Mediation

Body Language

Body Language

In a mediation how can you tell what the other side is thinking? Is there a secret formula? After having conducted countless mediations, I’ve come to rely on people’s body language more than anything. By learning how to “speak this language” I’ve come to understand where the parties are coming from. I sincerely contribute my success rate to this bilingualism.

Unlike court, which is by nature combative, mediation focuses on collaboration and a meeting of the minds. If one comes in using harsh words focusing on getting their message across verbally, they may lose sight of the more effective means of nonverbal communication. There have been many studies that prove that words are many times not enough. In communications that involve highly emotional personal situations, the words we say are of less import then the tone of voice and nonverbal bodily communication.

My job is to get the parties to come to a mutual agreement. Using body language signs to make sure we stay on track has been extremely helpful. I can sense how the other party is feeling or receiving certain information from the movements they make. For example, is one party excepting what you have to say? A good indicator of rejection is if they are sitting back in their chair, cross their legs in your opposite direction or folding their arms across their chest. If you see these signs or others what do you do? This is my key that a new strategy or approach to present the information is needed.  Or perhaps the parties need to caucus at this juncture.

Incorporating positive body language signs into the mediation can also make for a successful agreement. Smiling and showing general pleasantries can go a long way. Try to keep things in perspective. Whenever I feel like things may be going south I take a pause and try to “smile on”

divorceharmony.com

 

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Common Mediation Misunderstandings

Common Misunderstandings

Common Misunderstandings

Whenever I’m presented with the opportunity, I love to explain all of the advantages of divorce mediation and what it entails. There are so many benefits that I sometimes feel like a never ending advertisement for the mediation  profession.  Unfortunately, even though the information is out there, there still exits many common misunderstandings when it comes to this topic. This could be because mediation is so severely underused so there is an obvious lack of knowledge. I would like to clear up some ideas of what mediation is certainly not. In doing so, this will help in understanding what the purpose of mediation actually is.

RECONCILLIATION 

Can mediation bring a couple back together? Isn’t mediation non-combative so it gives the couples the opportunity to reconcile? Even though that would be really nice, mediation is not for reconciliation. A mediator’s role as a neutral third party is to help the divorcing parties communicate and work through the issues they will need to resolve in order to get divorced.

THERAPY

It’s easy to see why some people might think their mediator can double as the therapist. Many look up to the mediator as their divorce professional and think they can confide every aspect of their life to this person. After all, they the mediator is privy to many of the most private details of your intimate life. This is not the case, however. As mediators we can certainly be empathetic and take everybody’s feelings into account but since we are acting as neutral third parties we do not want to be seen as more or less empathetic to either party. If the one or both of the parties would like therapy by a licensed therapist, the mediator may recommend professionals.

MANDATORY

Unlike Court, what we do in mediation is completely voluntary. The parties make decisions for themselves and are able to use creative problem solving to come up with solutions that might not have been available if they went the traditional court route. What this also means, is that if they don’t want to come up with anything they don’t have to either. Everything in the mediation is voluntary and will only arrive at an agreement if we have the consent of both parties.

LEGAL ADVICE 

Being a lawyer, I get asked legal advice all the time. I’m constantly having to explain to my mediation clients that as their mediator I cannot give legal advice. Giving legal advice would assume some kind of bias and as I am a neutral third party, I cannot give the appearance of non-neutrality. I can illustrate what the actual law is, however. But my main focus as a mediator is coming up with solutions that fit my clients needs and these are not legally focused. Every case and every family is different and my specialty is working with each of my unique clients and crafting real results that work for them.

If you would like to learn more please contact divorceharmony.com

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How To Survive The Holidays

How To Survive The Holidays

How To Survive The Holidays

HOW TO SURVIVE THE HOLIDAYS 

It’s that time of year again.-the Holidays. Family, food, fun and cheer. But this year is different. This year you may be grieving and/or facing a new reality with your divorce. The usual expectations of the holidays from organizing complicated get together’s to cooking elaborate feasts may seem very intimidating. It doesn’t have to be though. Here are 4 easy steps to follow to ensure you enjoy the holiday season with loved ones and maybe get some meaning and inspiration from them as well.

 

Put Things In Perspective

Put Things In Perspective

  1. Put Things In Perspective Why do we have the holidays? What are we celebrating? Do the holidays-whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa hold any special meaning for you? Do you remember celebrating them in your childhood in a certain way? Are they a tie to your past and where you come from? Do you want to pass any of the rituals to your children? Putting the holidays in perspective and not worrying about the superficial like gift giving and fancy feasts may help you gain a better foothold on why we have these occasions in the first place.
Lower Expectations During The Holidays

Lower Expectations During The Holidays

2. Lower Expectations During The Holidays Slow down! You don’t have to move too fast. Take a breath and realize you can’t be everything to everybody. Think of yourself and what you need now. Don’t commit to too much at this time. Pacing yourself during the holidays is key to a healthy season. Only do what feels good. You may be going through a lot so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

 

Be Choosy With Your Holiday Events

Be Choosy With Your Holiday Events

3. Be Choosy With Your Holiday Events Many holidays get together’s can zap your energy.  Family and friends are beautiful but it can be tiring  and not to mention stressful to be around lots of people for an extended period of time.  Perhaps you would just rather curl up with a favorite book by the fireplace. Recognize that it may be better for you at this time to not attend every holiday gathering. Take the time to be alone or with a close few that you are truly comfortable with.

 

Make A Prioritized Plan

Make A Prioritized Plan

4. Make A Prioritized Plan What’s important to you this holiday season? What do you want to do? Make a list and stick with it. You will find that if you do what is most important to you the holidays won’t be that stressful because you are doing what is meaningful for you with the people that you want to be surrounded by.

To find out more about surviving the holidays please contact divorceharmony.com.

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Diamond Girl

Diamond Girl

Diamond Girl

Besides being a Licensed attorney, Certified mediator, wife, mother, professional volunteer/activist and long distance runner many people are surprised to find out I’m a GIA diamond expert. After practicing law for a few years in New York City, I grew weary of the field and the assorted characters in the community. I wanted to do something that would make people happy. On a whim, I enrolled in the Gemological Institute of America’s diamonds course. Entering the world of Diamonds was an exciting and stimulating time.

For almost 10 years, I ran my own Diamond Company, S&W Diamonds. I worked hard to make connections in the industry and on Manhattan’s famous 47th Street. I always provided the best quality stones at the most ridiculously lowest prices. I continue this tradition with my mediation practice-offering the highest quality at the lowest prices.

Who would have known that years later I would use my diamond knowledge to help my clients in the process of divorce mediation? Many divorcing couples need advice on what they should do with their engagement rings. Do they sell? Where? Can they make a profit from selling? Engagement rings can be a sentimental expense but it’s best to try and look at it like a business transaction.

There are lots of predatory sites and businesses out there looking to profit off of your misfortune. It’s important to know which companies are reliable if you are interested in selling your second hand diamond. There are only a handful of people, I can count them on one hand, that you should be dealing with. 

It’s been a pleasure to fuse my knowledge of the diamond industry with my divorce mediation practice. It feels great to continuously save my clients money on their diamond transactions using my GIA trained expertise. If you have any questions regarding diamonds or mediation please don’t hesitate to contact divorceharmony.com

 

 

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Teddy The Dog

Teddy The Dog

Teddy The Dog

Meet Teddy the dog.  Teddy is my 3 year old Labradoodle. We have a love/hate relationship. He’s usually very mischievous. Examples of his naughtiness include: binge eating treats when we are not home,  devouring endless socks, barking incessantly at nothing-the list could go on and on. I thought I was a dog person until we got Teddy. My eldest child begged and begged for this furry companion and I guess I had a moment of weakness and submitted.

That being said, Teddy the dog is a big old bundle of love. He cries sometimes because he cannot contain the love and devotion he has for us. That unconditional love is kinda nice, even though it comes with a lot of annoyances. At the end of the day, he just wants to be around us 24/7 and he’s the happiest guy ever.

If you had told me before I started my mediation practice, that Teddy the Dog would be the key to my success, I would have fainted. You see, I conduct most of my virtual mediations from my home office. Mr. Teddy has to be around me when I am in the house. Whether it’s in the kitchen, bathroom, wherever. This also means he insists on hanging in the office with me. If I don’t let him in, he cries and barks. See picture below of how Teddy typically spends his days. Not too bad!

Teddy the dog's usual position

Teddy the dog’s usual position

Teddy the dog’s tried and true position on the coach means he’s in perfect view of my camera when I’m conducting virtual mediation. What does this mean? That there is almost always a doggy party in my sessions. He doesn’t say much and nobody has to worry about issues of confidentiality.

Teddy the dog’s expertise comes in the way he lightens the mood in what could otherwise be a tense situation. Whether I’m conducting a mediation with all parties or caucus-my clients love Teddy! He’s a mediation star. The perfect way to break the ice. They want to know all about him and sometimes share tales of their own furry companions. Of course, if I ever have any doggy adverse clients I would make other arrangements for Teddy but so far he has a perfect record.

If you would like a doggy assisted mediation, please contact divorceharmony. Teddy and I will be at your bark and call.