There is a Better Way to Divorce

By Barbara K. Roman

The end of a marriage can be as stressful as coping with the death of a loved one. It is a high stakes, life-changing event for all involved. You may be surprised to know there is a better way to divorce where your spouse and his/her attorney do not have to be adversaries and the process does not have to be a battleground. The results can be a “win-win.”

Collaborative divorce is the new solution. It is a team approach that pledges to resolve marital and child-related issues through a respectful and honest process. The Collaborative divorce is an “interest based” approach, which utilizes attorneys, neutral mental health professionals, and financial advisors to arrive at workable solutions for divorcing families. The Collaborative process strives to avoid unobtainable positions, and focuses on sound, reasonable goals and interests for all parties, while minimizing
their fears and concerns. The Family Law attorneys at Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis will customize the outcome to each family’s needs.

The skills employed in an “interest based” approach minimize conflict and expense and optimize the chance for a positive outcome for the parties and their children. Divorcing couples with children will need to maintain a civil relationship for the sake of the children and, therefore, it is critical for them to foster positive future interactions.

An example of an “interest based” approach is the following: Wife insists on keeping the house and Husband demands the house be sold. When the parties and their attorneys work together to identify issues and concerns, they realize that Wife wants to retain the house so that their teenage son can graduate from his current high school and Husband wants to sell because he can’t afford the house and all the support obligations. When the group brainstorms options, they realize that they can agree to sell the house and buy a smaller house in the same school district and allow the son to graduate. This satisfies the interests of both parties because it turns out that Husband also wants the son to stay at his current school. This solution would rarely be discussed without a collaborative, interest based approach. The parties have worked out a solution that takes into account their mutual common interest – “win-win.”

People often think they need to “win” in divorce. However, the definition of winning must be redefined! The true objective of the Collaborative divorce is to “win” by moving both clients on to their next best life – one with health, happiness and security.

The attorneys at Meyers, Roman provide experienced, honest and caring advice to provide you with the best possible future.

Something to Think About Before Hiring a Divorce Attorney

By Lynn Seifert, Attorney at Phillips & Mille Co. L.P.A.

As someone who is a child of divorce, has been through a divorce, and deals with divorce on a daily basis, I know only too well, how hard it can be. A divorce is not only hard for the spouses, but for everyone involved, especially the children. The effect that their parent’s divorce has on a child can last a lifetime and can often affect the decisions that child makes regarding their own relationships in the future. Additionally, research has shown over and over that continued, ongoing, unresolved high conflict is harmful to children of divorce.

The choice that you make when choosing a divorce attorney is very important and will affect the experience you have through the termination of your marriage and the level of conflict. If you choose the wrong attorney, it can create more stress for you and more conflict through the process. The fact is, the more adversarial the divorce, the more conflict involved in the process, the more stressful and expensive it is for the parties. That may be good for the attorneys, but not for the families going through the divorce.

As with any profession, there are good lawyers and not so good lawyers. In today’s society, there are many different styles and approaches to dissolving a marriage. The type of attorney you pick depends on what you want from the divorce. There are some lawyers that are really good at making your spouse’s life miserable. So, if this is your goal (and you have the funds to bankroll it, because it is expensive), there are litigators sometimes referred to as “sharks.” They “play hard ball” and don’t want to talk settlement and prefer to go to trial. However, if you don’t want to spend a fortune to get divorced, I would avoid this kind of attorney.

In my opinion, the best approach to dissolving a marriage, and the one with the least harmful effect on everyone involved, is where the parties and their attorneys can work together to try and reach a resolution. In divorce, there are no winners or losers; it is about both coming out of the divorce with the least amount of damage and able to move forward.

So, if you are facing the termination of your marriage, consider looking into alternatives to traditional litigation such as Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Divorce, which are both non-adversarial processes for the dissolution of your marriage. Mediation is a process where you and your spouse work with a neutral third party (the mediator) who facilitates the negotiations between you and your spouse regarding the division of assets and the terms of your parenting plan when children are involved. A Collaborative Divorce is a structured process where the parties each have a collaborative attorney and the parties and the attorneys sign an agreement not to litigate the divorce. The Collaborative Process also utilizes other professionals, such as divorce coaches and financial neutrals, to assist the parties in reaching a fair agreement that meets both of their needs.

If you are considering the termination of your marriage and are interested in pursuing one of these alternative processes, there are local groups that endorse their use and have attorneys that utilize these processes in their practice. The Center for Principled Family Advocacy (www.famad.com) and The Cleveland Academy of Collaborative Professionals (www.collaborativepracticecleveland.com) both provide a list of attorneys who are trained in these alternative processes and can help bring a more peaceful end to your marriage.

If you or anyone you know would like more information regarding the termination of your marriage in a less stressful and costly manner, please give me a call at 440-243-2800.

Attorney P. Lynn Seifert received her undergraduate degree from Youngstown State University in 1993 with a major in Psychology and went on to earn her Law Degree from Akron University School of Law in May of 1999. She was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Ohio on November 8, 1999. Lynn has also received additional training and certications to serve as a Guardian Ad Litem, a Parenting Coordinator, a Family Law Mediator, and in the Collaborative Divorce Process. Lynn focuses her law practice exclusively in the area of Family Law and Special Education Law. Attorney Seifert is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Family Law Section, the Cleveland Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and the Center for Principled Family Advocacy, currently serving as co-chair for the Mediation Practice Group.

The Benefifits of Divorce Mediation

The Benefifits of Divorce Mediation

By Attorney Lynn Seifert of Phillips & Mille Co., LPA

As an experienced divorce attorney and a mediator with over nine years of experience in mediating family disputes, I have witnessed first-hand the benefits that Divorce Mediation has for the parties. If you are either considering divorce or are already in the process of a divorce and are concerned about the prospect of a nasty and expensive court battle, mediation is a beneficial alternative.

Mediation is a process for resolving conflict with the assistance of a neutral third party that has been trained to assist the parties towards a mutually agreed upon resolution. The mediator helps the parties in resolving disputes by the identification of the parties’ individual needs and their mutual interests with the promotion of effective communication. Mediation can function not only as a tool for dispute resolution but also as a means of dispute prevention.

In a divorce, the parties meet with a mediator, who works with them to focus on their goals and to discuss options for the division of their property and assets, to address issues of support, and to work out a parenting plan for those that have children. With the assistance of the mediator, the parties focus on the future and how they would like things to be, rather than focusing on the past.

The many benefits of mediation in divorce as opposed to traditional litigation are that it is less stressful on the parties and their children as it is a non-adversarial process which creates less conflict than traditional divorce litigation. The parties are also in control of the process and they make the decisions, not a Judge. Mediation is more flexible and leads to a much faster resolution since you do not have to wait for the court to schedule hearings on a busy docket. Also, mediation is conducted in a more meaningful, productive, and creative way, which leads to a more custom made agreement. Additionally, mediation is much less expensive than a costly court battle.

A mediated divorce agreement usually results in a more positive post-divorce relationship between the parties. There are usually fewer disputes after the divorce when it comes time to interpret and carry out the terms of the agreement. This is because people are much more likely to comply with the terms of a mediated agreement than something that was ordered by the court. Also, mediation can improve parents’ communication skills, which will help them be better co-parents which benefits the children greatly.

If you or anyone you know could use the assistance of a Divorce Mediator, please give me a call at 440.243.2800 and I would be happy to help you through the process in a less stressful and costly manner.

Attorney P. Lynn Seifert received her undergraduate degree from Youngstown State University in 1993 with a major in Psychology and went on to earn her Law Degree from Akron University School of Law in May of 1999. She was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Ohio on November 8, 1999. Lynn has also received additional training and certifications to serve as a Guardian Ad Litem, a Parenting Coordinator, a Family Law Mediator, and in the Collaborative Divorce Process. Lynn focuses her law practice exclusively in the area of Family Law and Special Education Law. Attorney Seifert is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Family Law Section, the Cleveland Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and the Center for Principled Family Advocacy, currently serving as co-chair for the Mediation Practice Group.