Sometimes parties come to our Brentwood TN offices looking for mediation services to help them through their divorce, but who need expertise that an attorney-mediator is not qualified to provide. Our philosophy at Papa & Roberts, PLLC is that divorce is a life event that almost always includes legal, emotional, and financial elements. In fact, research has shown that divorce is one of the most stressful events in many adults’ lives, second only to the death of a spouse.
Co-Mediation is a model that allows the parties to work with more than one neutral mediator to help them navigate their case and reach a fair and balanced result for both parties. Sometimes divorcing parties are having a difficult time communicating, co-parenting, or working through an emotionally charged issue that is interfering with their ability to negotiate a divorce settlement. Sometimes clients are aware of the ways their emotions and interpersonal dynamic is affecting the mediation and sometimes they cannot see how those issues' realities can get in the way of making good decisions in the divorce. In situations where it appears as though emotions are going to play a large role in the process, Mr. Papa encourages his mediation clients to involve a second mediator in the case who is a licensed mental health professional that is also credentialed as a family mediator. In those cases Mr. Papa focuses on the legal issues and the mental health professional supports the clients around the emotional issues that can be so overwhelming in divorce. By dealing head on with the ways emotions impact the divorce clients can end up moving through the mediation more quickly and feel more satisfied with the result.
In other cases, the parties’ financial situation may be confusing or complicated and the parties can benefit from having a financial expert mediator work with them on assessing and understanding the contents of the marital estate, considering how tax laws affect the settlement, as well as working with them on developing post-divorce budgets that help them know what they can afford to agree to do in the mediation when they are thinking about topics such as property division and alimony/ spousal support. Again, in these cases Mr. Papa and the financial mediator tag team as neutrals to work with the parties on navigating both the legal and the financial aspects of the divorce. Including a financial mediator in the case is particularly useful when one party has been more directly involved in managing the parties’ finances than the other. The financial mediator can work to be sure that both clients fully understand the financial issues in their marital estate before they make settlement decision in the mediation.
Finally, in still other cases, clients recognize that all three dynamics – legal, emotional, and financial – are at play in their divorce and they prefer to work with a team of neutral mediators who can help them analyze the legal and financial issues while also being sure that interpersonal conflict or disagreement does not derail the process. In those cases, Mr. Papa can co-mediate with an expert from both of the other two fields so that all bases are covered in real time for the family.
Contact our office at 615-767-5900 for more specific information about how mediation might be a useful solution for your family law dispute. For information regarding the other “team based” approach we offer, Collaborative Divorce, click this link.