Divorce Attorney & Mediator
Family Mediation & Representation
Simplify and Negotiate
Disputes are a normal part of family life. Over time, people in relationships develop complex plays and defenses that make sense to them and that help them get what they want. My play might run into your defense, or might just irritate you after a while, and then we end up arguing. In the argument, each of us has a story that makes sense to us, and each believes our actions are justified.
In order for disputes to lead to problem solving, we have to understand what each of us wants at a more fundamental level. We have to simplify, so we can negotiate. Right now we are arguing about who is going to pick up our son from the track meet, because each of us has a complex story about how the other is not doing their fair share of parenting work. But at a more fundamental level, one party might be happy to do the job, if they can just get some respect and some acknowledgement that they have a lot going on, or some offer to relieve them from some other task that they really don’t like. Such a deal won’t resolve all of our underlying tensions or bring our different stories about one another into harmony, but it will make it easier to work together.
At Syringa, we believe that a mediator helps parties simplify and negotiate. It is as though each party has tied so many knots on top of the initial knot, that they cannot see clearly what the initial knot is. A mediator listens and looks for that initial knot and helps the parties negotiate a way to address it and loosen it up.
The mediator can also help keep the negotiation clean, setting clear parameters (like honesty) and helping each side bring out and address fundamental needs. A fair negotiation will build trust and lay a foundation for future negotiations.
We will listen to your issues and offer a process that fits the parties’ situation. Each family dispute is different. You might be separated from your spouse but still needing to work together to co-parent. Or, you might be doing your own divorce, without the help of an attorney, and need help working out a property settlement or parenting plan. Or, you might have a lawyer and might be working through a contentious divorce, and need to reach a settlement to resolve conflicting legal claims. We have a slightly different process for each of these situations.
Each case starts with an intake over the phone, so we can listen to your issues and ask clarifying questions. After intake, we will propose a series of meetings that fit your situation. If you just need mediation as soon as possible because you have an upcoming court date, we might schedule you right away, even for the next day if the other party is available and there is an opening. Or, if you want to complete a divorce from start to finish, we will schedule individual meetings with each side, followed by mediation session(s) of 3 hours at a time, followed by a consultation to help with the necessary paperwork to finalize the divorce.
Unless you have a different arrangement with the other party, we split the cost of the mediation equally among the parties. The cost of the mediation will vary based on the issue and the time spent on it. Our initial consultation with you is always free, and we always explain pricing before you are charged for our services.
Parties to family mediation come with deep and complex histories. If there is time, we will work with each side beforehand to make a list of issues and priority items and to collect needed information. If you need mediation right away, we will ask you to come up with your list of issues and priority items yourself, as homework, and to share information during the mediation session.
The most important thing to do before mediation is to imagine you are negotiating with the other side.
- What requests will you make of them?
- Which of these requests are they likely to reject?
-What might they ask from you in return?
- What information do you not know that you need in order to negotiate with them?
We’ve made a list of more resources for families in transition. We hope you find it helpful.