CONSCIOUS FAMILY AGREEMENTS
What story will your family tell about your current chapter in 10 years?
We are all connected. Even when we lose someone from our daily life through divorce, distance or death, it doesn't erase them from the role they played in our story. In mediation and collaborative planning, we address the loss and the change without the added weight of shame or blame. Our focus is on healing, on meeting each person where they are and co-creating a new path forward so you can share graduations, weddings, grandchildren and other family milestones together.
This same process can be used for any of life's big changes. Collaborative life planning pulls together the resources you need to create a plan for current and future needs so your family can work together through whatever challenges life presents.
Collaborative practice utilizes a team of professionals to ensure a holistic solution.
OUR FAMILY IN TWO HOMES
Mediation is an opportunity for divorcing couples to invest in their family instead of the fight. Our resources help couples redesign their family into two homes and put together a plan to address future changes and disagreements in their new co-parenting relationship.
Our Family in Two Homes Resource package
Our Family in Two Homes is a comprehensive Workbook for each of you to complete privately – on your own time. The Workbook will help you better prepare for the discussions you need to have in joint mediation sessions, including exercises to help you understand your communication and conflict challenges, your shared values and even your “money personality".
The resource package includes
Workbook for each spouse
An individual meeting (usually 60 - 90 minutes) with me and each of person separately, so they can confidentially express their needs and concerns, ask questions about the mediation process and prepare for the joint mediation sessions.
Two joint mediation session (both spouses + me) - usually 2 – 2.5 hours each- where we will work together to redesign their family in two homes and create their co-parenting touchstone and process for addressing change
At the end of the second joint mediation session, we will discuss next steps. This may be connecting you to a drafting attorney if you don't have one or answering questions about the online court forms. We can also schedule additional mediation time if needed, and work out an additional flat rate, or another payment plan.
Iowa ethics rules do not allow mediators to draft documents for court.
The word divorce often conjures images of emotionally charged negotiations where the spouses are trying to best each other in the final act of their marriage. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Collaborative divorce works towards a holistic solution, one that looks past blame and focuses on an honest, fair solution for both parties.
Your collaborative divorce team includes attorneys, a collaborative facilitator or divorce coach, neutral financial advisor and a child specialist as needed. This approach does not mean a higher cost.
The size of the divorce “pie” doesn’t change, it is just divided differently. By using a team, we can help clients get to a better solution more efficiently by dealing with each issue in its proper context instead of trying to make every issue a legal issue. Each spouse will hire their own attorney but the cost of the other team members is split between the spouses. All team members sign a separate Collaborative Participation Agreement that will provide specific guidelines for this process.
As a collaborative facilitator my role focuses on building better communication between the spouses so that they are prepared to co-parent moving forward. This focuses on better communication also makes our team meetings more productive by keeping us focused on the future and how our day to day life is going to work when this process is done.
Collaborative divorce is an hourly rate service.
Designing Our Future
Conscious Contracts® are a great tool for prenups or co-habitation agreements.
Traditional prenups only focus on preserving and protecting specific financial assets in the case of divorce. This is one element to discuss, but divorce is almost always about more than the money. As I have mediated divorces over the years, I have lost count of the times that I wished I could have met a couple sooner. Little things that aren't dealt with, or at least not dealt with well, spin off into bigger issues because we are trained to listen to respond rather than listening to understand.
This process is different. Designing our future together helps couples develop a better understanding of how they each communicate so that we can design a process for addressing change and disagreement that will keep them on track as life goes on. We will still address any financial issues that are important to the couple but by creating a tangible touchstone of shared values, visions and dreams, we create a reminder for the couple to come back to when life hits a rough patch. We are all more than our dumbest mistake. Life will have ups and downs, emotions will flare, wounds will happen. We can't prevent all wounds, but we can ensure a process for healing so that the wounds are isolated and don't spread through the family. If the family path should diverge at some point, we can make sure it is done with the same integrity we started the journey with as well as respect for the family that was created along the way.
No one likes to think about getting older, so often times important decisions about later life issues are left unmade. Without a set plan, families can find themselves at odds. Add in unresolved feelings or other factors such as blended families, and the situation often escalates.
Integrative mediation helps the family design a plan that includes the tools to adapt and work through new changes as they occur so that values are honored and family relationships remain intact
The process includes
Individual meetings with family members and the mediator so they can confidentially express their needs and concerns.
A simple booklet for each person to complete privately – on their own time. The booklet includes exercises to help them understand their communication and conflict challenges and their shared values and will help them better prepare for the discussions they need to have in joint mediation sessions.
2 Joint sessions (2 - 2.5 hrs each). The family will come together to create the following.
Family Touchstone. When we are under stress or grieving it can be hard to remember the good things. The Touchstone is our foundation. It encompasses the shared core values for the family as well as their vision for what is most important as they plan for the next chapters.
Family ACED. Using the Family Touchstone as a guide, our next step is to develop the family ACED. This is a process for addressing change and engaging disagreement. The ACED is created by the family and based on their individual needs. It creates the space for conversations that are productive and centered on how to best align with the family touchstone given the current situation.
Action plan. We will also develop an initial plan based on current needs and take any proactive steps available that will make future decisions easier
We also offer communication coaching to help family members work together when not everyone is willing to sit down at the mediation table. Sometimes a little guidance can help keep the train on the tracks.
One of the kindest things we can do for our loved ones is to make our wishes clear through estate planning.
We offer flat fee estate planning packages that include
financial power of attorney
healthcare power of attorney
Last Will and Testament or Revocable Trust