Legalreader.com recently posted an article about getting divorced in the State of Utah. Many couples who show up at mediation are unaware of the process even when they have legal representation. I encourage all parties in divorce to inform themselves of the process as best they can. This is one of the major life events you will experience and it is important that you move about it with as much information as possible so you can make good decisions.
This article details the basic steps in Utah Divorces:
1) Someone files for divorce
2) Petition, Answer & Counter
3) Waiting period
4) Attorney's fees
5) Parenting Plan & Custody Evaluation
7) Discovery Process
9) Pre-trial Conference
For detailed information about each step click on the image above to be directed to the article. Understand that mediation may be listed as step 6, but it can actually be utilized at ANY step of divorce. Mediation is a place where you can take the time to better understand one another and work together toward a mutually agreed upon resolution. When couples mediate regularly, they learn to trust the process and their partner/co-parent. I cannot stress enough how useful mediation can be amidst conflict and how much happier participants are than when they leave their personal issues up to the courts.
Co-parenting during the holidaysRead Now
Divorcemag.com just posted a helpful article about co-parenting during the holidays. The end of the year is stressful for everyone, make the most of this year's special moments by utilizing the tips in this article.
1) Organize Time
2) Put the Children's Needs First
3) Consider Sharing the Holiday Together
4) Practice Self-Care
5) Seek Professional Support to Work Through Disagreements
For more details, click on the image above or go to divorcemag.com
At DONE mediation we feel it is absolutely essential that all parties involved understand:
1) What they are agreeing to in Mediation
2) What their alternative options may be
3) That they have a right to have documents reviewed by a legal professional
4) Nothing is binding until it is signed and filed with the court
5) They are not obligated or pressured to agree to anything they don't want to agree to
These are important aspects of every mediation. In one instance of a mediated case gone wrong, CBS Austin reports that an 86 year old Utah rancher faces jail time for being found in violation of his mediation settlement. In the story, the man claims that the settlement agreement was never read to him and he did not understand what he was signing.
Every person involved in mediation has a right to have any agreement reviewed by a legal professional. The ideal agreement/settlement is one in which both parties understand their obligations to the other and have vested interest in being in compliance in order to get what they want.
abc4 news recently posted a story about the necessity of custody orders for parents who are separating or divorced.
“In order to go to a trial, you have to go to mediation first anyway.” He added that doing this as soon as possible may end up saving couples time, money, and even help to maintain a cordial relationship between parents. “I tell people a lot, if you are already agreeing on almost everything, go to mediation right away before something happens.”
Done Mediation strives to help parents develop clear and concise parenting plans that have enforceable measures to protect children as needed.
The story also says:
Should the cordial relationship among parents sour in the future, the custody order may provide additional security if the police need to become involved. Felt further explained: “If there is no court document, most of the time the police can only say, ‘I’m sorry, there is no order, there is nothing I can do about this. You need to take it to the court.’”
Conflict between parents arises when one or both parties feel that their needs or expectations are not being met by the other. Often times these areas of conflict can be avoided in the first place by having well thought out and clearly defined parenting plans in custody orders.
It is vitally important that co-parents discuss what type of interaction and dynamic they want to have as co-parents. In cases of high-conflict, it is often in the best interests for all parties that there be very limited interaction and clear boundaries to assure the comfort and safety of those bound by that order.
For help with developing or modifying a custody order or parenting plan, contact Done Mediation today or schedule a session of mediation now.
mediation appsRead Now
Mediate.com recently published an article titled Top 5 Co-Parenting Apps for Mediation.
Apps are a recent and welcome tool to the world of co-parenting. Juggling schedules, finances, messages between two parties can be difficult and these apps hope to resolve many of those issues.
It is often the case, that co-parents are not able to think far enough ahead when they are in the process of divorce or separation. Their inability to picture an unknowable future will often times have them return to court for a parenting plan modification.
As a mediator, I like to suggest co-parenting tools such as apps to help facilitate coordination and communication when the parties are high conflict or simply disorganized.
It is always helpful to have update on the latest apps and the features they offer.
The Rochester Beacon recently published an article called The Power of Repairing Harm. In that article they site a study by the Utah Law Review in this way:
In many states, restorative justice has become a standard practice to decrease the harm caused by crimes while considering the needs of all those involved—victims, offenders and communities. An analysis published in the Utah Law Review two years ago that drew on data from 50 states found that 45 states have codified restorative justice into statutory law or regulatory law.
In this article, they go on to explain the benefit and the logical wide spread adoption of such forms of justice within the legal system.
It is much appreciated the manner in which mediation services are explained for their undeniable benefits to both parties in legal situations. The outcomes of these ADR cases are so indisputably preferable to legal consequences traditionally imposed by courts.
reinventing evictionsRead Now
The Salt Lake Tribune recently featured an article that proposed 3 examples of other areas who are approaching issue of Covid relate eviction in different ways.
One of the examples given was was in Philadelphia. Here is what they did:
While Utah officials have justified paying eviction landlord attorney fees for evictions that were started before rental assistance was sought, the City of Brotherly Love took another approach. Philadelphia requires landlords to take part in mediation with renters and to also apply for federal rental assistance before they can file an eviction in court.
Often the parties agree to payment plans so that renters are not expected to pay off arrears all at once.
Creating a space for mediation — where the renters also have legal counsel to advise them — has led to a 90% success rate in terms of renters either staying in their homes, settling on a repayment plan or coming to an “exit strategy” to leave the apartment at a time that works for them, according to program administrator Sue Wasserkrug.
“It’s unburdening the courts and relieves both of the parties of all the stress of going to court,” Wasserkrug says. “It’s providing some certainty and stability for the parties.”
We could not be happier to see the successes of mediation used in this way. Articles like this one are the reason mediation gets it's due credit as a valid form of legal resolution to conflict.
Normalizing mental healthRead Now
University of Utah Health recently released an article online that promotes employer awareness for mental health issues. Part of the recommendation included mediation. Here is an excerpt: “Thoroughly discussing mental health benefits and community resources available to employees will help normalize mental health as part of overall health and wellness,” Hunziker continues. “Employers that support wellness programs that provide mediation, yoga, or mindfulness can help decrease stress and burnout and increase connection with employees.”
The article states that 1 in 5 adults in the United States suffers from a diagnoseable mental health condition in any given year. With statistics being this severe, it makes sense why personal issues that could be resolved using mediation could help alleviate the impacts of those personal issues at work.
I found this interesting article on Babygaga.com about "parallel parenting" as opposed to co-parenting. The jist of it is that parallel parenting is ideal in cases where the parents to a child engage in a more business like relationship when it comes to parenting. Co-parenting is only possible when the two parents involved can communicate and work together on a mutually agreed upon parenting plan. When communication and collaboration are not possible, parallel parenting is the next best thing. Read more about parallel parenting here.
An item of future conflict that is often overlooked when knee-deep in a divorce, is how both parties will address relationships with significant others in the future.
The goal of mediation is to reduce the amount of conflict not only during divorce, but in a way that sets up a good foundation to avoid conflict in the future.
This is a good article with a free worksheet for co-parents to use as a reference. There is a lot to consider when it comes to when and how to introduce a new romantic partner to your co-parent and kids.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.