Separating or divorcing can be a complicated, fearful, frustrating and tortuous process. Imagine the difficulty of getting two people who are often at odds with each other personally to agree to the terms of severing the ties of their marriage while simultaneously providing future stability, safety and even prosperity in their on-going parental relationship. At The Resolution Center, we create a defined path to achieve that positive outcome. That path uses a mediation/arbitration process to resolve and decide all of the legal issues involved in a separation or divorce process while also adding other integrated services to address the many non-legal issues such as a financial plan, parenting, social, psychological and extended family concerns.
The Solution-Focused Divorce™ process does not emphasize legal rights, focus on past wrongs, or on a settling of scores. Instead, the process focuses on:
Solution-Focused Divorce™ conciliators understand that divorce shatters
dreams. That clients struggle with uncertainty and fear. At The Resolution Center we support clients as they move through uncertainty and fear. We maintain a focus on the future for each individual and for the family as a whole. We help clients envision a life that gets better and then we engage in a process to make that vision a reality, for everyone.
If clients are also parents, their number one concern is the impact of the
divorce on the children. And rightly so. Divorce often becomes a child’s greatest fear, abandonment by their parents.
Children survive divorce if, and only if, parents find a way to respect, honor, and work with each other. When parents continue to fully engage as Mom and Dad children grieve the divorce, but they also survive and can thrive beyond it. The Resolution Center educates and equips parents to craft a parenting plan that enables them to effectively co-parent even as they create separate lives.
Both households need financial security to move into a better future.
Solution-Focused Divorce doesn’t focus simply on dividing property and establishing arbitrary or unrealistic “child support.” Instead, at The Resolution Center, we focus on utilizing the resources accumulated during the marriage to create financial stability for both houses.
The process begins with a definition of the path. The parties and a conciliator meet to discuss the
available services, time frames and costs. Once the services have been defined, the parties are
provided a services contract that includes a detailed estimate of the expected total fees and the
time frame involved in the process.
This path takes the parties outside of the traditional litigation process. It substitutes an
arbitrator for the judge. In the Solution-Focused Divorce™ process the parties proceed to
mediation and with the support of other adjunctive services reach a mutually agreeable
solution based on the real circumstances of the parties, not some assumed or standard
template formula imposed by the Court.
The parties begin their journey on the path with a mediator. The mediation is a facilitated,
structured, interactive dialogue between disputing parties that uses negotiation and
communication techniques to help resolve conflict in a series of 1 ½ – 2 hour sessions
spaced over a period of weeks or months . Each session typically is focused on either a
single topic or a series of inter-related issues, including children/parenting issues,
financial and budgeting issues, living arrangements, etc. As the process proceeds the
parties are encouraged to explore and contemplate different possible solutions so that they
can both think them through thoroughly and try them out experientially before
committing to any final decisions.
Occasionally the parties may not agree on every issue in mediation. In that case the
arbitrator can make a binding decision on the remaining issue(s) taking into account the
parties’ mediated agreements and priorities presented during mediation. Even at the point
of impasse the parties remain in control, with the option to choose among several forms
for the arbitration. At the conclusion of the arbitration, the arbitrator will file a final
arbitration decision with the Court that incorporates both the mediated agreements of the
parties and the arbitrator’s decision on any open issues.
When there are minor children in the family, the path also requires the services of a Child
and Family Advocate (“CFA”). The CFA is a little like a “Super Nanny.” Once the
parents complete the exercises through the uptoparents.org website, the CFA will meet
with the parents to discuss their perceptions and understandings of who their child(ren)
are now and what they see as their desired future. Following that meeting, the CFA will
meet with each parent and each child separately and together to see and understand the
child and the interaction of the child and the parent. She will make a “curbstone”
developmental assessment of the child and seek to understand the child’s perception and
experience of the parents’ disputes and their impact on the child and their vision of the
future. Once these meeting are complete, the CFA will share the information in an
informal discussion with the parents as a report of her findings. The CFA will review
parenting plans developed with the mediator or included in any arbitration decisions from
the perspective of the child. Finally, the CFA and the arbitrator will prepare and file with
the Court a “Best Interests of the Child Statement” in order to justify and explain the
decisions of the parents and/or the arbitrator in any final arbitration decision that is filed
with the Court.
The parties may also chose to add a financial planner to their path. As a part of the
mediation, the parties will not only discuss the allocation of their existing assets and
liabilities, but will also create a set of post-divorce budgets that will serve as a basis for
discussions on how they will provide for themselves and the children. Those views are
static. They look at a point in time. The job of the financial planner is to look out beyond
that point into the future to project how each parent will fare on their own. That
perspective is usually a very “eye-opening” experience for most families. There is a
review of the financial situation of each party included in the mediation/arbitration
process. However, many couples will want to take the financial planning process to a
deeper and more comprehensive level. The financial planner who reviews the case will
also be available outside of the path to consult with either party following the divorce.
The Solution-Focused Divorce™ path also includes a separate divorce coach assigned to
each of the parents. The role of the divorce coach is twofold, first to help each party look
beyond the separation or divorce into the future and to create a vision for that future, and
secondly, to assist the party in navigating the separation or divorce process itself. The
coach will explain terms, put suggestions into the context of the individual’s daily life,
and help the party moderate and manage their emotional reactions during the process, all
while keeping the ultimate vision in focus.
Because the Solution-Focused Divorce™ process is an integrated service with several normally
separate services combined, it is more efficient as well as more comprehensive. TRC therefore
offers a discount on the total fees charged when parties chose to contract for
Solution-Focused Divorce™ at the inception of the contract with TRC.