Monthly Archives: August 2012

What Are The Differences between Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce?

Divorce mediation and collaborative divorce are both alternative methods used to end a marriage that are intended to involve less conflict and avoid court hearings.  However, some significant differences exist between divorce mediation and collaborative divorce.  Here is how the two differ:

  • The collaborative divorce process involves a group of professionals (attorneys, mediators, tax and financial advisors, divorce coaches, etc.) advising and facilitating the couple in their resolution of all issues that need to be addressed to end a marriage.
  • A San Mateo divorce mediator may or may not be involved in a collaborative divorce process.  In either case, a divorce mediator is a neutral person who helps the parties identify and resolve whatever financial and child-related issues that need to be resolved. A San Mateo divorce mediatordoes not give legal advice, but can recommend professionals that would be helpful to resolving whatever issues need to be resolved.
  • With divorce mediation, the parties may utilize whatever professionals are needed to resolve the party’s issues, including having attorneys involved, but it is not necessary or required as it is in collaborative divorce.  If the divorce mediator is an attorney too, he or she may be able to prepare all of the legal documents needed to file with the court to end the marriage without the use of other attorneys.  Thus, divorce mediation alone is often less expensive than collaborative divorce.
  • If an agreement is not reached regarding all financial and children issues during the collaborative divorce process (i.e., the matter must go to court), then all of the attorneys involved in the collaborative divorce process must be let go, and new ones must be hired for the divorce.  There are no such restrictions on a San Mateo divorce mediator.

Call Lisa Nelson, an experienced San Mateo divorce mediatorat SFAM, today at (650) 556-8880 for a free initial consultation regarding mediating any and all issues involved with ending your marriage.


Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Marital Assets & Debts, Uncategorized

What is Divorce Mediation?

Lisa Nelson of San Francisco Area Mediation (SFAM) explains what divorce mediation is and how the process works.

Leave a comment

August 21, 2012 · 1:56 am

Three Fundamental Rules of Divorce Mediation

In order for divorce mediation to be successful typically the following three rules need to be in place: 

  • Only one party speaks at a time.  It is the role of the San Francisco divorce mediator is to facilitate the dialog between the parties.  To this end, only one party is to speak at a time.  The divorce mediator will prompt conversation back and forth between the parties, and make sure everyone’s ideas and points are heard.  If the parties interrupt one another, it is the mediator’s role to stop the process and reaffirm the rule.
  • No personal attacks.   Your San Francisco divorce mediator should direct the parties to focus on issues and not to make personal attacks or digs on the other party.  The mediation process will break down if insults begin, and are allowed to continue.  The mediator should stop the session and redirect the parties if someone begins to engage in personal attacks.  If the person will not stop the insulting behavior, the mediation session should be terminated.
  • Full disclosure.  Full disclosure of all assets and debts is necessary for a mediated divorce agreement to become legally binding.  A San Francisco divorce mediator should advise the parties of this up front, and they should agree in writing to fully disclose all assets and debts. 

If you are considering mediation, please contact Lisa Nelson at SFAM.  Call (650) 556-8880 today for a free consultation to discuss your mediation needs.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Importance of Goal Setting in Divorce Mediation

Prioritize your goals.  When you head into a mediation session with a San Francisco divorce mediator, it is in your best interest to have thought through which of your marital issues are most important to you.  The aim of a San Francisco divorce mediator is to help the parties identify issues, and come up with solutions to resolve those issues, which are mutually satisfying to both parties.  The reality is that some issues will be more or less important to you than other issues.  Good negotiating begins with knowing what is and is not important to you.  You should have a good idea of your bottom line on issues that are important to you –and do not start there in your negotiations.  The mediation process ideally allows the parties to explore creative solutions to issues.  Also, it involves some give and take in negotiating.  This is why it is important that you know what your goals are, and where you are willing to give and take.  For example, let’s say you do not much care about the furniture in the house, but there are a few tools in the garage that you would really like to have.  Then that is one of your goals, and you should think through what having those tools is worth to you.

Think about your spouse’s potential goals in a divorce mediation session.  It is a good idea to try and think in advance of a mediation session, what things might be important to your spouse.  If you have a good idea of that, you can think through where the give and take might occur.  Remember, everyone wants to feel like they have “won” in a negotiation.  A skilled negotiator knows how to get what one wants, but make the other person feel like he or she “won” too.  It will enhance your negotiating abilities during mediation if you can anticipate some of these issues and keep calm and focused when your San Francisco divorce mediator begins facilitating your negotiations.

Call Lisa Nelson at SFAM today at (650) 556-8880 for a free initial consultation to discuss mediating your divorce matter or visit our website at

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Marital Assets & Debts