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Interview: Mosten on Peacemaker Practice Self Survey

I recently had the opportunity to interview ADR legend Forrest “Woody” Mosten.  Woody has been on the forefront of Mediation and Collaborative Practice and is the founder of Unbundled Legal Services.  Woody also happens to be a friend and mentor of mine and my co-author of “Building A Successful Collaborative Family Law Practice” published by the American Bar Association in 2018.  You can find the video below.

You can find the Peacemaker Practice Self Survey reproduced below.

PEACEMAKER PRACTICE SELF-SURVEY

Forrest S. Mosten and Kevin Scudder[1]

Peacemaker Professionals are lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals who deliver services to clients in a number of roles: Advisor, Information Provider, Organizer, Legal Counselor, Mediator, Evaluator, and other forms as service-provider.

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Online Divorce Mediation in Florida

Are you heading towards divorce during the coronavirus pandemic?  Are you social distancing and not wanting to risk infection by meeting for negotiations in person?  Would you prefer to proceed with divorce without getting lawyers involved?  Then Online Divorce Mediation may be the best option for you.

The Basics of Divorce Mediation

In Divorce Mediation, whether virtual or in person, you and your spouse together hire a neutral mediator.  As the mediator, I cannot make any orders or force you into an agreement.  Rather, I help facilitate an agreement between you and your spouse.  I can use my general experience and knowledge of the law to provide you with information and help you develop options, though (because I am not acting in the role of a lawyer) I cannot provide legal advice.

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End-of-the-Year Divorce MediationMediation

End-of-the-Year Divorce Mediation

Do you hope to complete your divorce process by the end of the year?  Are you looking for a divorce mediator in Tampa Bay who can meet with you and your spouse in a non-adversarial setting?

We have slots for end-of-the-year divorce mediation open throughout December (including around Christmas).  With us, not only will we work with your schedule, but you will find a different mediation experience than other local mediators offer.  Our model is based on our experience working and authoring a book with internationally-respected leaders in the mediation field.

Let me explain a bit about how we are different in that we encourage face-to-face mediation. This offers several advantages over the caucus-style mediation that is more common in Tampa Bay.

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What is Marital Mediation?

Mediation has been around for a while to help people privately resolve disputes.  Generally, it has been associated with helping parties resolve legal issues, such as divorce, paternity, or even contracts or business disputes.  But mediation can also be used to resolve every day disputes.  In fact, the purpose of marital mediation is to help strengthen marriages.

Marital mediation is a concept promoted by New York psychologist Ken Neumann and Boston family attorney John Fiske.  In marital mediation here in Tampa Bay, you sit down with neutral co-mediators.  One is trained as an attorney, and the other who is trained as a therapist.  However, they will not be providing therapy or giving legal advice.  Rather, the co-mediators help you identify the issues that are causing problems in your marriage and help you reach agreements.

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Alimony Tax Deduction: Is It Too Late To Divorce in 2018?

Have you heard the news about the alimony tax deduction?  It is going away for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018.  But fear not!  If you and your spouse act smartly and quickly, you can still lock in your alimony tax deduction.

What is the Alimony Tax Deduction?

The alimony tax deduction is currently enshrined in 26 U.S. Code section 215.  It states that alimony (as opposed to child support or distribution of property) can be tax deductible to the payor and taxable to the payee.  This means that the person who pays alimony will pay less in taxes, and the person who receives alimony will pay taxes on it as if it were regular income.

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Why Trump and Kim Could Use a Mediator

A mediator is not just for divorce.  In fact, there is an organization, Mediators Beyond Borders, which promotes the use of mediators in all sorts of international conflicts.  A representative of the organization has even spoken in front of the United Nations to encourage mediation.

Mediator

Regardless of your perspective on the recent summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, there is one thing that seems clear to me: they could use a mediator.

How Mediators Could Help in International Diplomacy

Here is how a mediator could help:

  • A mediator is a neutral third party who helps people resolve disputes.  Though the first meeting between the national leaders seems to have had a friendly tone, there is no doubt that things will get tough.  In divorce negotiations, discussions can start off easy, but many times they devolve.  A mediator can be there to keep discussions focused on the future rather than past actions and words that caused the dispute.  A good mediator could keep President Trump and Chairman Kim focused on the future. Read more

How Do I Know If My Kids Are OK During My Divorce?

Divorce is not only stressful and life changing for you, but also for your children. As a parent, you want your children to come out of your divorce as unscathed as possible. How do you ensure that happens?

You are likely more emotional and busier than ever during your divorce process.  However, now is the time to stay connected with your children. Spend special time with them doing activities that they enjoy. Check in with their teachers, coaches, and friends to make sure that they are doing okay.

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Mediation Compared to Collaborative Divorce

There has been a growing recognition over the past few decades that courtroom divorce, an adversarial process that pits husband against wife, is a dreadful and harmful method to resolve family disputes.  As a result, the Florida Supreme Court, like many other judicial bodies, declared that family matters needed “a system that provided nonadversarial alternatives and flexibility of alternatives; a system that preserved rather than destroyed family relationships;…and a system that facilitated the process chosen by the parties.”  In re Report of the Family Law Steering Committee, 794 So. 2d 518, 523 (Fla. 2001).

Two alternatives that have developed to fill this space are mediation and collaborative divorce.  As collaborative divorce is a relatively new option, and there exists much confusion – even among experienced family law practitioners – about the differences between these two methods of dispute resolution, this article looks to compare and contrast mediation and collaborative divorce.

Event versus Process

Mediation is generally a one-time meeting where the parties come together, along with a mediator, to attempt to settle disputes.  In Florida, the parties’ attorneys are also in the room, though other jurisdictions exclude attorneys.  The mediator is a neutral actor who does not have the power to force the parties into any type of settlement, but can only encourage them to reach an agreement.  A mediation conference will generally last from 3 to 8 hours or more.  If the parties cannot reach an agreement in that meeting, then they tend to go to court, usually multiple times.

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What Should I Tell The Kids About Our Divorce?

If you have children and are going through a divorce, your biggest concern is likely how your kids will be affected. When is the best time to tell your children, and how much should you share with them?

Your Children Will Know

Your children will know that something is going on, and leaving them in the dark may cause more apprehension and stress in them than just being upfront. Establish a united front early in the process, and tell your children together that you are separating. Assure them that while things will be different, everything will be okay. Alleviate their fears that your divorce is in any way their faults. Remind them often during the process that everything will fine and it is not their faults.

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Who Gets The Kids On Holidays?

The holidays are such a magical time of year, especially if you have children. But if you are going through a divorce, your family will need to establish new traditions. Holidays must now be split between two family units. Until the judge orders a holiday schedule or you and your ex reach an agreement about it, each party is usually equally entitled to a holiday. This can create a lot of stress during an already stressful, busy time of year.    So how do you determine how holidays should be split?

Mediation and Collaboration

If you choose a courtless divorce option like mediation or collaboration, professionals will assist you and your spouse in creating a holiday schedule that works best for both of you. It may be more important for your side of the family to celebrate certain holidays than it is for your spouse. Likewise, there are probably some holidays you don’t care about that are important to your ex. One or both of you may want to have the opportunity to travel during certain holidays. All of these matters can be addressed more thoroughly if you participate in a form of alternative dispute resolution than if you let the judge decide for you.

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