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What is Divorce Mediation?

Watch this educational video provided by UK Mediation as well as learn how to prepare for mediation, which are essential steps in understanding and preparing yourself for mediation. Take a moment to review the Comprehensive Mediation Process document which outlines all matters related to divorce. To further enhance your knowledge of the mediation process, how mediation differs from therapy as well as the difference between divorce mediation and the traditional divorce process (litigation), click here on the introduction to mediation. To learn about different ways to divorce other than mediation or litigation, click on process options. Be sure to review the trauma, multicultural and social justice section on the home page to best understand the mediator's exception to being neutral.

Bryan P. Range | MAFT, ABD, LMFT, CCTP, CFTP

Divorce and Workplace Mediator 

Collaborative Law Coach & Child Specialist

I am a trauma-informed mediator which means that services include education on the effects, prevention, and recovery of trauma. Visit my website for free information on trauma. I utilize mostly the facilitative style of mediation which includes being less directive, rarely providing my opinion, orchestrating the process, leaving outcomes to the parties, asking a lot of questions to encourage understanding, assisting parties to develop and evaluate their own proposals for settlement. I ensure the process is tailored to clients’ needs and I am process-driven. I may also use the evaluative style of mediation which includes the assessment of strengthens and weaknesses and may give directives, my opinion or advice on occasion. Given the level of trust that develops between myself and the parties, the transformative style of mediation may occur which focusing on the party’s relational interaction, focusing on change in the quality of conflict, leading from behind with patience, and I may translate, reframe or reinterpret issues.  

Trauma, Multicultural & Social Justice Informed Services 

All services are trauma, multicultural and social justice informed.  Services are trauma-informed which means cultivating a relationship built on trust and compassion based on not what is wrong with you but understanding your experience and what happened to you.  Reasonable accommodations are likely to be permitted upon request.  Furthermore,  each service is integrated with education on the effects, prevention, and recovery of trauma.   Only therapy services include the treatment of trauma.  Multicultural and social justice informed means that biases (which we all have) that discriminates against a person's age (ageism), gender (sexism and heterosexism), race (racism), religion,  sexual orientation, socioeconomic status (classism) or disability (ableism and disableism) may be discussed openly or privately in hopes to ensure fairness and equality, increase awareness, strengthen relationships and enhance services.   Services are culturally sensitive (considerate and welcoming of the client's and other stakeholders culture) and will work collaboratively with those from diverse backgrounds to ensure services are rendered with cultural competence.  Social justice-informed also refers to tending to larger systemic social inequalities (issues related to power and privilege) that can manifest during the rendering of services, which may also be appropriately addressed in order to ensure fairness and equality, increase awareness, strengthen relationships and enhance services.   

Divorce & Trauma

Divorce has been identified as a common traumatic event for families, particularly for children.   Trauma leads to disrupted neurodevelopment, social-emotional and cognitive impairment, an increase in risky behaviors, disease, disability, social problems, and even early death.  Although divorce is difficult, it does not need to be traumatic.  As a divorce mediator, my goal is to be a neutral third party that helps to facilitate productive dialogue that (1) help participants identify issues that are important to each of them, communicate their ideas, explore options, reduce misunderstanding, clarify priorities, explore areas of compromise, negotiate differences, and if possible, come to a mutually acceptable agreement and (2) help to reduce the traumatic effect divorce can have on parents and their children through education and other prevention methods.  The key to being productive during the divorcing process begins with you, the parents.  Here are some initial helpful resources that can assist you with how to start moving forward though this difficult time in you and your loved ones life; six conflict management skills, co-parenting, reading list and Our Family Wizard.  

Tell Me about Your Experience

Next, I want to hear your story.  Divorce Mediation is a delicate process that requires time and commitment and strives to consider the well-being of all those affected. Therefore, giving everyone a voice is important.  Parents and children will be asked to draft a 2 page single-spaced document of their experience. The format for this letter is as follows; (1) how was family life prior to the divorce/separation, (2) what you believed caused the divorce or separation, (3) how have things been since the decision to divorce/separate was made and (4  are there any ground rules they would like to implement during the mediation process, which is for the parents. . Children of the divorcing parents will be asked to write about (1) their experience in the family; what they like and dislike about the family, (2) how they generally feel about how the family is functioning and (3) what they are hoping to see happen during this process. This process is to help create an appropriate space for venting and to capture thoughts that will assist in moving successfully through the mediation process.   It is best if the letter is typed and emailed to or brought with you to your first mediation. 

Preventing Chronic & Toxic Stress from Undermining 

your Life, Relationships and the Mediation Process 

Don't let chronic or  toxic stress undermine your life, relationship, and the mediation process.  Your health, well-being and parental adjustment (psychological adjustment of parents which significantly impact children's well-being) are key components to a productive mediation process, its outcome and moving forward in your life.   This self-care assessment can help guide you on tending to areas of your life that facilitate healthy brain development and functioning and will better help you to be emotionally and psychologically prepared for mediation.  It is recommended that you seek counseling for you and or your children during this difficult time.  Having emotional support from a competent and compassionate professional can be invaluable during this challenging period in you and your children's life.  You can either ask me, your mediation, for a referral or go to PsychologyToday.  Participating in a divorce support group can be beneficial as well; Divorce Care.

For substance abuse treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous,, Narcotics Anonymous or Al-anon, click in the links provided.   

The Day of Your Mediation

The day of your mediation, it is important that you get to treat mediation like you are preparing for a very important exam; (1) be well rested, (2) eat a hearty meal, (3) relax your mind and body with mindfulness practices such as meditation, prayer, conversing calmly with family and friends.  Polyvagal theory provides context for these important practices which ultimately saves you time, money, energy and greatly increases the chances of being successful in mediation.

Central Documents

The centerpiece of the divorce mediation process is the parenting plan and the client financial profile Here is an example parenting plan for your convenience.  In addition, here are some helpful suggestions on how to prepare for a mediation, if you have not reviewed this document already.    Be prepared to review the mediation agreement (a contractual agreement that outlines fees, procedures, and responsibilities) in the first meeting.  Completing the a full client profile that details background information and financial status. will be the next steps after your initial mediation meeting.   You may also refer to the library for more helpful resources.

  Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation

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