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How Mediation can Help You During Your Divorce

            If you are contemplating a divorce consider using mediation ...a non-adversarial and cost-effective alternative. With mediation, an impartial mediator helps you and your spouse make decisions that can affect you for the rest of your lives.

            Mediation allows the divorcing couple to be the only ones who decide how agreements are reached. The mediator’s main responsibility is to assist the couple in reaching an agreed resolution-not to convey their own opinion. One of the mediator’s roles is to aid in defusing emotions as well as guide the couple through the difficult issues that accompany a divorce.

            If you take the traditional route - two opposing attorneys with two angry parties - and go before a judge, decisions are based on law. He or she can’t know all of your extenuating circumstances about you and your children.

            Keep in mind, divorce mediation is not marriage counseling. It will not help you save your marriage. During the initial consultation, most mediators detail what must be accomplished in order for the couple to reach an uncontested divorce agreement. Sometimes one of the parties reconsiders their desire to divorce and will seek counseling to save the marriage. Some mediators even have a list of therapists who can work with the couple.

            When Divorce is the Answer

            When there is no hope of saving the marriage, a divorce mediator can:

            !Provide creative solutions to problems that parties may have considered impossible to resolve

            ! Provide extensive knowledge of distribution of property and debts

            ! Offer sensitivity about child custody, support issues and espousal support

            ! Have an office setting rather than a public court for personal and confidential issues

            ! Be less expensive than divorce attorneys battling out a settlement on your behalf

            ! Help avoid destructive battles, which have negative impacts on the children and other family members.

            Mediation offers Positive Outcomes

            Research has shown that when you compare couples who have mediated their divorce with couples who go through an adversarial/litigated divorce, mediating couples are more likely to be satisfied with the process and the results. In addition, mediation is likely to take less time, save thousands of dollars, and have these agreements honored more often than those decided by an attorney or judge. Once the divorce has occurred, spouses have a quicker recovery time and are able to move on with their lives.

            Characteristics of a Good Mediator

            Divorce mediators come from many different professions. Yet, all receive special training in the skills necessary to assist parties in avoiding contested/litigated divorces. In the end, it doesn’t matter how educated the divorce mediator is, he or she must be able to work with couples and be able to resolve conflicts in order to reach an agreement.

            Still, before you hire a divorce mediator ask how much experience the individual has. You also need to know how much time the mediator is spending in a daily basis of working with couples.

            A divorce mediator will listen to everything you and your spouse have to say, and the result will be a win/win for both parties. Best of all, this divorce agreement will be uncontested in court.


Brian James, president of C.E.L. Associates, focuses on helping divorcing couples end their marriage as amicably as possible. His offices are conveniently located throughout the Chicago suburbs and Southern Wisconsin. He may be contacted by phone at: (312) 524-5829 or by email at  GOTOBUTTON BM_1_

Teacher Conferences Important to Divorced or Divorcing Parents


            In many parts of the country, the school year is ending in less than three months. What do you know about how well your child or children did in school this year? Will your offspring need to attend summer school, have a tutor or be ready to “graduate” to the next grade without any problems? Only your child’s teacher has the answer.

            When parents are going through a divorce or are divorced, usually one of them has little knowledge about what is happening in their child’s classroom. Of course, most parents know that parent/teacher conferences are a great way for them to learn about their child’s daily activities in school, whether the child is doing well or if their child needs help at home. Yet, many parents don’t communicate with the teacher during this trying time in their lives, or just turn over this responsibility to the other parent.

            However, if you are divorcing or divorced from your spouse abdicating educational responsibilities is not in the best interest of your child. So---what can you do to avoid conflict with your spouse, yet remain actively involved in your child’s education?

            Brian James, president of  C.E.L. & Associates, an Illinois-based certified mediator specializes in pre and post divorce issues has some advice for parents that can be beneficial to their child.

            Make sure your child’s teacher is the first one informed that there is a pending divorce or if a divorce has just occurred. “Your child spends more time in school than anywhere else, and this situation might have a negative affect on your child,” he says. “At this time of year, most scheduled school conferences have past. However, all teachers are willing to have a conference with a parent at the parent’s request. Find out what is happening with your child.”

            If the parents are cordial to each other, they can attend the parent/teacher conference together. That way, both parents have the same information and can ask the same questions regarding their child’s education. If only one parent attends, the other one is left in the dark. Unfortunately, in most divorce situations, this is exactly what happens.

       More often than not, sitting together with a teacher is virtually impossible due to the antagonistic and negative vibes radiating from each parent. This makes the teacher uncomfortable-and in this hostile atmosphere-you may not receive all the information you need to know about your child’s academic achievements or non-achievements.

            Therefore, James as some advice on how divorcing or divorced parents should handle teacher/parent conferences.

            ! Ask the teacher to notify both parents what days and times are available for in-person or phone conferences.

            ! When necessary, schedule individual in-person or phone conference time with the teacher. This will alleviate divorced parents from having to be together, but at the same time, allow them equal time with the teacher. This results in each parent learning the same information about their child.

            ! If only one parent is meeting the teacher in person or having a telephone conference, take notes. Even if you and your ex aren’t on speaking terms, sending him or her notes about the conference is in the best interest of your child. Both of you need to have the same philosophy and goals regarding your child’s education.

            “No matter how much you and your ex dislike each other and want nothing to do with one another, you still have a child you need to parent together,” he says. “School is where children learn. If the two of you aren’t on the same page regarding the child’s current education, then you are both unnecessarily harming your child’s future education and well being.”

            For more information, phone Brian James at (312) 524-5829 or visit  GOTOBUTTON BM_1_


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