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Around the Table

Levitt Family Law & Mediation’s Blog

Navigating through the Stormy Seas of Divorce: How a Mediation Strategist Can Help – Part 1

by | Jun 10, 2024 | Divorce

Emotions run deep in divorce—and the forces fueling them are not always obvious. Yet emotions can interfere with reason. Parties can get stuck in a loop, or get bogged down where they feel an issue is unresolvable, or that neither can compromise. This slows down the divorce process, makes it less efficient and productive, and ultimately drives up financial and emotional costs. In divorce negotiations, we need to find a way for emotions and reason to inform each other to reach a satisfactory settlement.  It is not a simple task to find that balance.

Getting Help from a Neutral Party

A divorce coach, sometimes called a case facilitator, is a neutral who works with the parties to increase their capacity to engage in effective settlement discussions. Following the lead of the Collaborative Law community which has embraced the use of the Collaborative Law divorce coach, in mediation the use of these professionals can be a valuable resource. Divorce coaches or case facilitators can offer parties and the mediator a forum for working through issues that may be impeding settlement.

What’s in a Name?

However, some professional colleagues of mine, when they heard the phrase “divorce coach,” said it sounded like mental health counseling (which it is not). When they were told that case facilitator is synonymous with divorce coach, they said that case facilitator sounded very cold and business-like and not what they think of when they think of divorce. If my professional colleagues react to these terms in these ways, clients are probably doing the same. The use of a divorce coach or case facilitator in mediation has in fact been underutilized, and this may be why. 

In talking about this with one of my colleagues, Dr. Gina Arons, who [GA1] has served as a Collaborative Law coach or case facilitator in many of my cases, the idea of coming up with a new name for the role to describe this type of neutral led to an interesting discussion. We agreed it is important for clients to be strategic in managing their emotions during the mediation process. Preparation for effective settlement discussions involves being able to listen and consider each person’s needs, interests and concerns. We came up with the term “Mediation Strategist” to replace divorce coach or case facilitator.

Intrigued? Keep your eye out for Part II of this blog when Dr. Arons talks about what a “Mediation Strategist” does in mediation and why you may need one.

Learn more about mediation here.

If you need help with your family law matter, contact us.