Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I sell TIME

What is it that I'm really selling as a pro se, pre-suit mediator? The answer - Time.  Uhh, time? I don't get it. Let me explain...briefly. Once you decide to divorce/separate, you can immediately come to a family mediator, who will guide you in reaching a settlement agreement regarding your children and/or property.  A settlement can be reached in one day. Your next step is to the courthouse, where you can file your divorce papers and settlement agreement. The final step is a hearing before a judge where your settlement agreement will be finalized.  This three step process can be accomplished in a couple of months.  The traditional divorce/separation process with attorneys can take many months even years for an agreement to be reached. That process is plagued with scheduling, rescheduling, and more rescheduling. Trying to find acceptable dates and balance schedules for the parties and their attorneys is a circus act.  Time is invaluable and can never be returned to you. Save yourself the hassle and hire a mediator FIRST.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Custody and Visitation - A Thing of The Past

“You’ll have to fight me for custody.” If you watch a family drama on TV, you’re bound to hear this phrase between arguing parents. However, the Florida Legislature doesn’t like that term anymore and rarely awards sole custody and unilateral decision making to one parent.  A Parenting Plan is the new wave in child custody and visitation laws. Parenting Plans spell out the responsibilities of each parent as they relate to their children’s overall upbringing, including health, education, religion, and social activities. Each parent now has a “shared responsibility” in the general welfare of their children.  In the spirit of collaboration, the legislature has also replaced “visitation” with “time-sharing.” Parents don’t visit their children anymore; children share their time between both parents. The time-sharing schedule is laid out in the Parenting Plan.  The Florida Legislature no longer wants to punish either parent but equalize their responsibilities in raising their children. In family mediation parents put their differences aside and create a plan where both parents have a say in their children's lives.  Family TV dramas are bound to catch up with the new law.  TV's future tag line - “Well, we’ll work this out in our Parenting Plan.”