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Mediation Coach and Divorce Mediator Carmela M. Miraglia discusses how hiring a mediation coach can help with the divorce mediation process.
While mediating your divorce is usually less stressful than litigating it, the mediation participants can still face tension, stress and fears about the unknown. Having a mediation coach help you through the process can help calm your nerves, raise your confidence, and give you the tools you need to get the outcome you want from your divorce and protect your interests in the process. However, not every separating spouse will benefit in the same amount from the services of a mediation coach. Knowing whether or not you could benefit from a mediation coach will allow you to make an informed decision at this difficult time in your life.
What Is a Mediation Coach?
A mediation coach is someone who will walk you through the divorce mediation process. Mediation coaches are usually family law attorneys who are closely familiar with both the mediation process and divorce and family law, and who you hire for advice and practical help during your divorce mediation. While a mediation coach will prepare you for your mediation sessions, they typically do not accompany you to those sessions, preparing you “behind the scenes” to advocate on your own behalf during the mediation sessions. (It is not unheard for spouses to each be represented by an attorney during mediation; however, being accompanied to mediation sessions by an attorney is a very different from having a mediation coach, who operates more like an outside consultant, coaching the mediation participant outside of mediation sessions.)
Mediation Coaches Relieve Stress Through Preparation
While preparing for a divorce mediation does not compare to the rigors of a preparing a divorce for trial, it is not a totally stress-free environment. The discussions and negotiations during the mediation sessions will shape your post-divorce future and can be highly emotionally charged. Perhaps more importantly, the “heavy lifting” of divorce litigation is often performed by an attorney, while the spouses themselves take center stage during a mediation. For spouses who are intimidated by the unfamiliar concepts, information and prospect of negotiating directly with their significant other, the divorce mediation process can seem full of knowns. For many spouses, the best antidote to mediation-stress is preparation. A mediation coach help you know what to expect, you define goals and develop strategies for controlling your emotions and pursuing your objectives. In short, a supportive mediation coach reduces a spouse’s anxiety by sharing his or her knowledge of the mediation process and providing a sense of order and familiarity to mediation sessions. Because mediation coaches are acting as consultants, answering directly to the client on an as-needed basis, a spouse controls how much time the mediation coach spends. This makes mediation coaches a relatively cost-effective option for many mediation participants. If you find yourself overwhelmed and anxious just by the thought of the divorce mediation process, hiring a mediation coach could be beneficial.
The Support of a Mediation Coach Builds Your Confidence
A mediation coach’s support can be a great confidence booster for mediation participants. Your coach can advise you regarding the law surrounding child custody, child support, alimony and asset/debt division. He or she can advise you about the mediation procedure, and how your mediator is likely to approach the issues in your divorce. Your coach can assist in developing negotiation strategies to achieve your mediation objectives, and provide expert-level advice on settlement proposals, financial documents and specific legal or factual issues. Information is power. The information provided by a divorce mediation coach can take the worry out of the mediation process. Chances are, you have what it takes to negotiate a positive outcome in your divorce mediation. But hiring a mediation coach is a great way to maximize your potential and approach your mediation with confidence.
Mediation Coaches Teach You to Advocate on Your Behalf
Perhaps the mediation coach’s most important job is to help you learn to advocate on your own behalf during mediation sessions. Our mediation coaches are experienced family law attorneys and mediators in their own right. This means they have observed the arguments that work in court – when delivered by an attorney – as well as the most persuasive approaches used by individual spouses in the mediation context. A good mediation coach realizes that he or she cannot simply instruct a mediation client on “how an attorney would argue” and issue and expect the mediation client to carry this instruction into a mediation session. Mediation coaches must quickly assess the natural skills and aptitudes of their mediation client, and tailor their advice to ensure the client is armed with practical, useful tools that fit the client’s skills and personality. Mediation coaches explain the techniques they have seen work in the past, why those techniques work, and how you might use the techniques during your divorce mediation sessions. Specific areas of review/instruction can include:
- Defining goals for your divorce and developing strategies focused on achieving your goals throughout the process by clearly articulating your interests and positions.
- Negotiating tips and strategies through techniques such as role-playing, game-planning and identifying the other party’s interests and motivations.
- Basic legal arguments for non-lawyers to guide you through negotiations on issues involving laws such as the child support guidelines or asset division statute.
- Skills for managing your emotions and understanding your opponents emotional reactions during the mediation process.
- Reviewing and preparing important documents including financial statements, settlement proposals, child-related records and final separation agreements.
Carmela is a divorce mediator and mediation coach for South Shore Divorce Mediation, with offices in Hingham, Massachusetts and East Sandwich, Massachusetts. She is also a Senior Associate Attorney for Lynch & Owens, P.C., where she specializes in divorce and family law issues. Carmela is a statutory mediator under M.G.L. Ch. 233, s. 23Cand a proud member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. To read more from Carmela Miraglia, check out her author page on the Lynch & Owens Blog. Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should meet with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. You are invited to contact our office. Contacting the office does not create an attorney-client or mediator-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to the office until such time as an attorney-client or mediator-client relationship has been established. This blog is considered an advertisement for the Law Office of Lynch & Owens, P.C. d/b/a South Shore Divorce Mediation. The Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct broadly govern all advertisements and communications made by attorneys and law firms in the Commonwealth. Generally, legal websites and any other content published on the internet by lawyers are considered a type of communication and an advertisement, according to the Comments to Rule 7.2.