Cost Matters

Even though many consider meditation a more relaxed and informal way of resolving a conflict, one that could otherwise be litigated, that notion is a little fuzzy. People who use mediation as a tool for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) find many advantages to those who “lawyer up” and battle their matter out in court.

One way that mediation is nearly always better than litigation is the lower cost. In almost every case, it is simply less costly to pay for a mediated settlement than it is to pay for a litigated result. In fact, I cannot think of even one instance where mediation was under priced by litigation.

Let’s take for example one set of “facts” and cost compare:

A couple who have been married for eighteen years, two minor children, the marital home, two vehicles, retirement accounts for husband and wife, a significant inheritance coming from the wife’s side, one boat, and a small plot of lakefront property out of state.

Presume that the parties are amenable to a fair and reasonable settlement in a timely fashion.

If the parties choose to litigate the matter, they are likely to spend between $15,000.00 and $20,000.00.  That figures two lawyers each working for between 30 and 40 hours on the matter. The lawyers’ billable time included the hours sitting in the hallway of the courthouse waiting for the case to be called.

If, instead, the parties choose to mediate the matter, they are likely to spend between $3,500.00 and $5,500.00. If you choose Holistic Mediation, you’ll get the benefit of two co-mediators working between six and ten sessions and all costs to draft the requisite paperwork for court for far less than litigating.

piggy bank

When it comes to cost, a mediated agreement is better than a litigated result (nearly) 100% of the time. And we believe at Holistic Mediation that you should keep as much of your own money as possible 100% of the time.

Please contact us to see if mediation is worthwhile for you.

Atty. Jenna Brownson at 978.760.0482 or Rob Brownson, LMHC, at 978.479.2923

A Solid Track Record

Holistic Mediation has successfully worked with:

  • Married Couples seeking divorce
  • Married Couples unsure about whether divorce is right for them
  • Pre-Nuptial Couples interested in constructing a marital blueprint
  • Family members in conflict over finances, property, estates, and wills
  • Family members facing the prospect of elder care and decision-making
  • Family members struggling with disparate views on child rearing
  • NGOs creating a new path relative to mission or design
  • People in need of guidance and support to make meaningful change

In co-mediation sessions, the clients get the benefit of having access to two different skill sets. As an attorney, Jenna addresses the legal, logistical, and analytical aspects of conflict; as a Mental Health Professional, Rob hones in on the relational and trauma-based aspects of people in dispute. This two-part approach offers all clients a much richer experience in the crafting of legitimate and personally meaningful resolutions.

As the facilitators, Jenna and Rob promote discussion and negotiation that encourages all parties the opportunity to exchange divergent views, ask questions, discuss difficult topics, and find solutions.

Jenna and Rob regard the work done in mediation as potentially transformative, in that the time spent working through the matters at hand can help the parties reframe their perspectives toward one another. In each mediation, Jenna and Rob challenge the parties to adopt new strategies of interaction and to let go of those concepts which stand in the way of present healing and future progress.

Please reach out if you wish to benefit from this method of approaching and conquering conflict.

TWO TOOL BOXES

In co-mediation sessions, the clients get a double benefit through their access to two different skill sets brought by Rob and Jenna.

As an attorney, Jenna addresses the legal, logistical, and analytical aspects of conflict; as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Rob hones in on the relational and trauma-based aspects of people in dispute.

While Jenna is an attorney, and Rob a psychotherapist, Jenna does not represent mediation clients as an attorney, nor does Rob offer clinical services to any mediation clients. However, during the family mediation process, Jenna will share legal information despite being precluded by ethical rules to give legal advice. Rob, through his years of experience working with conflict, provides insightful direction to get at the core of the areas of dispute.

This two-skill-set model offers to all clients a much richer experience in the crafting of comprehensive and personally meaningful resolutions.

As the facilitators, Rob and Jenna promote discussion and negotiation that allows the conflicting participants the opportunity to exchange divergent views, ask questions, discuss difficult topics and find solutions. As co-mediators, they assume the role of neutral, third-party observers, assisting the participants to explore and find collaborated solutions. What generally results is the creation of a sound, mutually-acceptable agreement to address the parties’ particular circumstances.

Please contact us at 978.760.0482 (Jenna) or 978.479.2923 (Rob) to begin discussing how co-mediation can work for you.

Mediation by Zoom

We’re closing in on a year of isolation and social distancing. At the beginning of Covid-19, my co-mediator and I had a handful of clients whom we concluded their time with us using video conferencing, i.e., Zoom. While the communication shifted to something different, the work went on and unhappily married couples became civilly divorced individuals.

For the last few months, the clients whom we have been helping to forge through the “we’re getting a divorce” list of topics the court wants to make sure were discussed–those clients have been exclusively Zoom-based clients.

At first, my co-mediator and I weren’t sure if it would be possible to comprehensively facilitate a fruitful and transformative process for these couples. What if the “secret” to a successful mediation is being right there in the room with the person you’re readying to divorce? What if those tense moments of negotiation can only be capitalized on when the tension in the room gets so high that someone feels forced to give in? What if zooming from home feels like an unwanted house-call, like opening the door to find a traveling root canal specialist offering to “help”?

Luckily, there is no secret to mediation; tensions still can run high, regardless of physical proximity to the soon-to-be ex-spouse; and, most report that they are “fine” mediating from home.

So, it works.

It is possible to go from where you are now (wondering how long you will have to wait before you can make a positive change for yourself) to where you want to be (moving toward a fair and equitable way to end your marriage).

If you’re there, we’re here.

To reach Jenna Brownson, call 978.760.0482 or email to jenna@holisticmediation.org to reach Rob Brownson, call 978.479.2923 or email to rob@insightoptions.org

Go with the Pros

When a couple comes to the end of their domestic partnership and are looking for ways to part amicably, it is sensible for them to do so with some guidance from professionals who know “how the system works” and “what hoops need to be jumped through.” The courts require that particular matters be resolved before a judge can come to a finding and grant a divorce or sign off on a parenting plan.

While there are intricacies and tedium in the process, doing it right the first time is advisable. One of the best ways to ensure that what you bring to court is adequate is to hire professionals who know what you need to have so that the judge can make the finding that the details outlined in your agreement are “fair and reasonable under the circumstances.”

At Holistic Mediation, we understand what you need to get through those hoops.

Image result for jumping through hoops

Call 978.760.0482 (Jenna) or 978.479.2923 (Rob) to schedule a complementary initial consultation to see if working with Holistic Mediation works for you.

How Co-Mediation Differs from Solo-Mediation

In co-mediation sessions, our clients get a double benefit through their access to two different skill sets brought by Rob and Jenna.

As an attorney, Jenna addresses the legal, logistical, and analytical aspects of conflict; as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Rob hones in on the relational and trauma-based aspects of people in dispute.

Connection. Hands trying to fit two puzzle pieces together.

While Jenna is an attorney, and Rob a consulting psychotherapist, we do not represent mediation clients as an attorney, nor offer clinical explanations that underlie any disagreement. During the family mediation process, Jenna will share legal information but is precluded by ethical rules to give legal advice. Rob, through his years of experience working with conflict circumstances provides insightful direction in getting at the core of the areas of dispute.

This two-skill-set model offers to all clients a much richer experience in the crafting of legitimate and personally meaningful resolutions.

As the facilitators, Rob and Jenna promote discussion and negotiation that allows the conflicting participants the opportunity to exchange divergent views, ask questions, discuss difficult topics and find solutions. As co-mediators, they assume the role of neutral, third-party observers, assisting the participants to explore and find collaborated solutions. What generally results is the creation of a sound, mutually-acceptable agreement to address the parties’ particular circumstances.

If you are interested in the richer model that co-mediation can offer, contact Rob at 978.479.2923 or Jenna at 978.760.0482.

Bringing the Children Along

 

My co-mediator and I just wrapped up a mediation with a couple who is divorcing. They were committed to the process, thoughtful about their choices, measured in their tone, and, above all, concerned about their children’s futures.

When we met to compile their “filing packet,” which would be mailed to the Probate and Family Court to be scheduled for a Zoom hearing, we did so taking all Covid19 precautions. While we’d met with this couple in person for the bulk of their sessions, we, too, have shifted to online mediation sessions. But to sign papers and have them notarized, we really needed to be face-to-face, or mask-to-mask as the current “normal” requires.

Outside on a lovely New England afternoon, Rob and I waited their arrival. And, to our surprise, four people stepped out of their car. Our clients had brought their two children.

 

children(These are not their children.)

In mediating divorces, children are not present. The goal of a divorce mediation is to come to terms on a contract, i.e., the contract for the dissolution of a marriage. The law presumes that anyone under 18 years old lacks the capacity to enter into a contract.

(Note: Chore contracts, homework contracts, and practice-piano contracts are established all the time between parents and their children. Don’t let on that you know that these contracts are invalid based on the legal presumption of incapacity of minors. That could sabotage the harmony that can come from “contracts” like these.)

So, while children aren’t legally necessary to participate in a divorce, it is irrefutable that they are right “there” in each and every mediation session. They are the bond that gets couples to compromise; they are the vehicle to keep the couple focused on the most important piece of the divorce puzzle.

Seeing our clients’ children, from a socially-distanced vantage, warmed our hearts and reminded us that when done well, parents can be honest with their children and even let them have a glimpse of what Mommy and Daddy were doing all those times they said, “We’re going to mediation.”

If you think mediation is right for you and your children, please call Jenna Brownson, Esq. at 978.760.0482 or Rob Brownson, LMHC at 978.479.2923 to schedule a half-hour complimentary consutation.

What You Can do to Get Ready to Mediate

Image result for list of questions

Oftentimes, my co-mediator and I are asked, “What do we need to do for the first meeting?” While there is nothing you must do in order to fully participate in that first meeting, you may want to do a few things to prepare.

While the following questions presume that you have children, you can consider them even if you are divorcing without minor children.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. In a perfect world, how will the children’s time be allotted between myself and my soon-to-be ex-spouse? Are these notions reasonable when taking into consideration work schedules, school schedules, activities, etc.?
  2. Do I want to stay in the marital house? If so, why? What are the benefits? What are the potential challenges? Is this “best” for the children?
  3. If I don’t stay in the house, where will I go? What are the advantages and disadvantages to a new residence? Are the children relocating with me?

Bear in mind that your initial answers to these will like change and/or take a more defined shape as the mediation progresses. Nevertheless, the themes and realities will be consistent throughout the process. The sooner you begin to grapple with these questions, the more streamlined, i.e., the less costly and time consuming, your mediation can be.

If you think you might be interested in a mediated divorce, please call Jenna Brownson, Esq. at  978.760.0482 or Rob Brownson, LMHC at 978.479.2923 to schedule your 1/2-hour complimentary consultation.

 

Less Out of Piggy

Even though many consider meditation a more relaxed and informal way of resolving a conflict that could otherwise be litigated, that notion is a little fuzzy. People who use mediation as a tool for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) find many advantages to those who “lawyer up” and battle their matters out in court.

One way that mediation is nearly always better than litigation is the lower cost. In almost every case, it is simply less costly to pay for a mediated settlement than it is to pay for a litigated result. In fact, I cannot think of even one instance where mediation out-priced litigation.

Let’s take for example one set of “facts” and cost compare:

A couple who have been married for eighteen years, two minor children, the marital home, two vehicles, retirement accounts for husband and wife, a significant inheritance coming from the wife’s side, one boat, and a small plot of lakefront property out of state.

Presume that the parties are amenable to a fair and reasonable settlement in a timely fashion.

If the parties choose to litigate the matter, they are likely to spend between $15,000.00 and $20,000.00.  That figures two lawyers each working for between 30 and 40 hours on the matter. The lawyers’ billable time included the hours sitting in the hallway of the courthouse waiting for the case to be called.

If instead the parties choose to mediate the matter, they are likely to spend between $3,500.00 and $5,500.00. That total includes two co-mediators working between six and ten sessions and all costs to draft the requisite paperwork for court.

piggy bank

When it comes to cost, a mediated agreement is better than a litigated result (nearly) 100% of the time. And we believe at Holistic Mediation that you should keep as much of your own money as possible 100% of the time.

Please contact us for a free 1/2-hour consultation.

Jenna Brownson, Esq. at 978.760.0482 or Rob Brownson, LMHC at 978.479.2923

Image result for settlement written