expert online series

Mediator Mel Schwartz on the Mediation Process
Current Time: Fri Apr 4 07:01:36 EST 1997

MsgId: jcafe(3)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:06:07 EST 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 152.163.237.130

Welcome, everyone to our Thursday Night Show with Mediator, Mel Schwartz
MsgId: jcafe(5)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:08:40 EST 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 152.163.237.130

Now, Mel, can you tell us a little bit about the process of mediation?
MsgId: jcafe(7)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:10:14 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.130

Divorce mediation is a civilized alternative to traditional divorce. In mediation, we focus on the settlement, not on the conflict. It's a process that may take as little as 6 or 7 hours to complete a complex agreement. This is not an arena for conflict or for argument. The emphasis is always on the solution.
MsgId: jcafe(8)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:11:04 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

Hello everyone. I'm new here and have no idea what I am doing so please bear with me. I am going through a divorce. Have been legally separated for 3 years and finally going to finish it. Any advice?
MsgId: jcafe(10)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:12:48 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.130

Do you have a legal separation agreement, jabbermeister?
MsgId: jcafe(11)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:13:30 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

We pretty much went through all that with the legal separation. But now he is just trying to make things difficult for me. He doesn't like anything that is brought up. I just want to get it over with, but he wants to argue everything. How do you work with someone like that?
MsgId: jcafe(13)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:15:20 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

This is a perfect time to see a mediator. A skilled mediator will always be able to focus the couple on what they need to move on with their lives.
MsgId: jcafe(14)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:15:51 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

Yes, we have a legal separation agreement. But I am going back to court to raise the child support. All I am asking for is what the state estimates is right between his income and mine.
MsgId: jcafe(15)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:16:46 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

This is a perfect time to see a mediator who can help you move on. A skilled mediator would ask your husband, for example, Does he want to hire lawyers and spend ridiculous amounts of money to make war? Or does he want to be practical, and move on?
MsgId: jcafe(16)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:18:10 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

By the way, you can go into Family Court and ask for a modification of your support payment.
MsgId: jcafe(17)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:19:26 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

How do we find a mediator? How much does one cost? And also, what if he doesn't agree to see one. He is the type of man that wants to sue everybody for everything. We even went to marriage counseling, but, as usual it was everybody elses fault but his own, and everything has to be done his way.
MsgId: jcafe(18)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:20:15 EST 1997
From: Divorce Central Moderator
At: 152.163.237.66

Who does mediation work for?

MsgId: jcafe(19)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:20:49 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

To find a mediator, you can call your local state organization on mediation. The cost varies, but is usually a sliding scale fee. In the NY area, it could be from $100 to $300 per hour. Mediation works for anyone who decides that they don't want additional anger and financial cost. The only times when mediation doesn't work is when someone doesn't feel capable of advocating for themselves.
MsgId: jcafe(22)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:23:35 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

Do you really think mediation would work with someone like I just described. I just want to make everything fair for my kids. He doesn't want to be responsible. He grew up with a silver spoon, and at the age of 30 he is still living off of his father. His father supplies everything for him. All I'm asking for is $570/mo in child support for 2 kids and half the day care. Is that too much to ask?
MsgId: jcafe(20)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:21:45 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

Jabbermeister, how old are your children?
MsgId: jcafe(23)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:25:26 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

I have two children, both girls. Ages are 2 and 6. I also have an 18 year old son from a previous marriage, but my current ex-husband never adopted him. My son will be going into the Navy in 3 weeks
MsgId: jcafe(24)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:26:32 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

Sometimes people don't know that mediation is available. They are not aware of the alternatives. They may have heard about it, but aren't really sure what it is.
MsgId: jcafe(25)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:27:41 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

Jabbermeister, ask your husband if he loves his children. If he says, "Yes," tell him that it is in their best interests for their parents to not be at war.
MsgId: jcafe(26)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:28:29 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

Im not sure he would even agree to it. So you are saying, that we would go through a mediator instead of hiring a lawyer or taking it to court. Could this all be done out of court?
MsgId: jcafe(27)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:29:38 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

Divorce Central Moderator: What happens after a couple is in the room with the mediator?
Mel Schwartz: The first thing is we will try to determine their expenses. We want to know what it costs each of them to live. Then we'll take a look at what their incomes are. Then we'll take a list of all of their assets and we will agree as to how to value those assets.
MsgId: jcafe(28)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:30:21 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

I've tried that. He always tells me we shouldn't argue in front of the kids, and we try really hard not to. But when it comes to anything that is financial, or that would inconvenience him, such as weekend visitation, then all of a sudden he has every excuse in the book and says I'm ripping him off. I only get $400 a month now and half day care.
MsgId: jcafe(29)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:30:46 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

Yes, this can be done through a mediator. But the divorce decree must be signed by a judge.
MsgId: jcafe(30)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:33:33 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

If at all possible, Jabbermeister, try to encourage him to go with you to a mediator. If that fails, you can go to family court.
MsgId: jcafe(31)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:34:57 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

What if we go see a mediator and he decides he doesn't like it, or won't adhere to what the mediator suggests? Would that be the end of it at that point, and then we would go our separate ways for an attorney?
MsgId: jcafe(32)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:36:07 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

If he is being really difficult, you will have no choice.
MsgId: jcafe(33)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:36:57 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

Looks like you are ahead of me. Okay, well I can at least ask him I guess. I've been working with an attorney and so has he, but it doesn't mean we have to keep throwing our money away. So, how exactly do I find a mediator? In the phone book? Under what listing?
MsgId: jcafe(35)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:40:07 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

You probably can find it in the phone book--the yellow pages. There are also local Mediator's Organizations that list names. The American Association of Matrimonial Attorneys also have attorneys who are mediators. Their telephone number is (312) 263-6477.
MsgId: jcafe(36)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:41:59 EST 1997
From: jabbermeister
At: 206.83.79.85

Okay, well thanks for the information, Mel. I sure appreciate it. Have a great evening. Thanks for bearing with me. This wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. You are my first chat person.
MsgId: jcafe(37)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:42:27 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

I run a few support groups of divorcing and divorced people. Half of those in the group had their divorce worked out through a mediator.
MsgId: jcafe(38)
Date: Thu Apr 3 22:43:18 EST 1997
From: Mel_Schwartz
At: 152.163.237.66

Divorce Central Moderator: Thank you for coming, Jabbermeister. And Good Luck!