Month: October 2014

“Panic to Action” Leads to Poor Outcomes

Calm Panic Buttons Show Panicking Or CalmnessWhen conflict hits it can feel like a crisis urging us to act quickly. That makes sense because adrenaline and other stress hormones flood our body and brain preparing us to take flight or fight. This can lead to heroic acts like lifting a car off a trapped person, but in our daily lives it more often leads to a panic to action that causes all kinds of bad decisions and outcomes.

This is especially true when going through a divorce because there are so many unknowns: What will we do about the children? Where will we live? Will I be able to afford to retire in the future? Will I have to pay support? Will I receive support?

Yet, reflection, not reaction, are needed when working through a difficult situation. Take the time you need to think things through. If your spouse is pressuring you to act, reassure them by giving them a timeframe when you will give them answers or schedule an appointment with a mediator. Say something like, “This is really important and I don’t have the proper time to deal with it now. I will have more to share next week.”

Although divorce may be the last thing you want to be going through, ask yourself, if this situation worked out perfectly, what would the result be? This often leads to an immediate sense of calm because you are shifting your brain’s attention away from panic and focusing on a positive outcome. Next, ask yourself why that particular result is important.

Discovering why we want an outcome helps us to understand how we are feeling and what we are needing. Let’s say I am a parent and the best outcome for me would be to keep our current home and have the children spend weeknights with me. I could be feeling anxious because I have a need for security for my children. Or, I might be feeling scared, because I have a need for support from my neighborhood friends. You get the idea.

I may not get everything I want, but identifying how I am feeling and why I want an outcome helps me to regain a sense of control and opens up options to get to my needs met. For example, I may come to the conclusion that visiting my doctor and discussing medical marijuana, and how something like these fat buddha glass bubblers will allow me to consume the product in the best way to get the most out of it. This solution won’t come to light unless you seek out the answers to lead a better, more controlled life. It really is that simple. Operating out of pure emotion without understanding what is driving me will often lead to hasty decisions to make the bad feelings go away. For help through divorce, contact a mediator today at 585-244-2444 or [email protected].

Divorce should not define you

So you are going through a divorce. You, and half of the people who

path thru woods photoever get married. Who will you be after the divorce? You will be the same person you were before the divorce. Only now you are not in a relationship with your (soon-to-be-ex) spouse.

There is a shift in people, places, things and finances. You are at a threshold of change, just like when you graduated from high school, and possibly college, or entered the workforce, or even when you got married. All of those events required thinking through how you would take on the new place you were in life. So does divorce.

Change can be difficult, especially if you have little control over the divorce process. Mediating your divorce gives you and your spouse the opportunity to create a fair and equitable agreement for each of you, and for your children. Using mediation, instead of the divorce becoming a way of being and a way of defining you, divorce becomes a document that ends a marriage contract, and allows each of you to move forward.

So who are you going to be in the next step in life? The possibilities are endless.

Reinventing Yourself After Divorce

ReiRespectnventing yourself after a divorce can be a daunting task, however, it is one that is necessary for moving on and yes, it is possible, but it’s not easy. Taking care of you and your children, if you have them, is priority one. Putting your children first during this time and being the best parent you can be, does not have to mean you neglect yourself and your own needs.

Self-esteem and divorce don’t mix together well. At best, your divorce leaves you happy to finally move on. At worst, you’re scraping yourself off the floor and this is not something you wanted.

Being a newly single person comes with many different emotions and potentials. Taking care of yourself and nurturing your self-esteem will have a positive effect on your life moving forward as well as being a positive role model for your children.

Divorce comes with grief and there is a grieving process we all must go through after divorce. Allow yourself that time to grieve and when you are ready, find out who YOU are and be the person you want to be now that you are on your own.

Find friends with similar interests, embrace what you love about yourself, get involved with what you have always wanted to do, but always seemed to put off and go buy that one thing you never would have when you were with your spouse (as long as you can afford it). Whether it is new shoes or a new toy, do it for you and your self-esteem. You will find that taking care of yourself and allowing happiness after divorce will help you move forward.

Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Law ?

question mark

As a Divorce Mediator and Collaborative Law Attorney I am often asked what is the difference between mediation and collaborative law? And then I am asked “which process is going to be better for me?” The answer is not one-size- fits all. There are many factors to take into consideration. Each participant in the process has different needs, and couples have different needs and communication styles. I find the following chart useful to describe the both processes and how they differ. It is most important to speak with a professional divorce mediator and a collaborative law attorney to get your questions answered and to assist you in choosing with process best meets your needs. There are many many mediators out there that can help resolve your family law mediation whether it involves divorce settlement or some other issue to be resolved.

What is the difference between mediation and collaborative law?



-Husband, Wife, Mediator.

-Parties can be referred to professionals outside of the process to assist with particular issues such as financial advice, mental health support or evaluations.


-Husband, Wife, Husband’s Lawyer, Wife’s Lawyer meet together at “4-way” conferences.

-May also have Child specialist, Process Facilitator, Financial specialist, coach for either party or other professional to assist.


-Determined by number of sessions and complexity of issues.

-Generally less expensive than Collaborative because the participants pay for one Mediator.

-Usually less expensive than litigation. The participants have more control over time and costs.

-Determined by number of meetings, number of professionals involved, and complexity of issues.

-Generally more expensive than mediation because two attorneys are present at every meeting and the additional professionals are paid for attendance at meetings as well.

-Usually less expensive than litigation because it is more efficient and the parties have control over time and costs.


-Participants may hire an attorney to represent them for advice during the mediation, or after the mediation to review the agreement.

-An attorney is hired to complete the legal paperwork necessary to complete the process.

-Each party has their own attorney present throughout the collaborative process.

-All meetings are “4-way” conferences with both parties and their attorneys present.

-The attorney’s complete the legal paperwork necessary to complete the process.

How do I decide what process is best for me?
There are many factors that impact which process is best for an individual. You should analyze your ability and your spouse’s (other participant’s) ability to negotiate honestly and openly. You should assess your need to have an alpharetta divorce lawyer present with you at the negotiation table, your ability to communicate your needs and wants and to advocate for yourself, and the funds available for the divorce/separation process.

ALWAYS take the time to meet with a mediator and a collaborative attorney to discuss your questions about process and to get assistance choosing the process that is best for you.

[author_info]Julie V Mersereau, Esq. is an experienced Divorce Mediator and Collaborative Family Law Attorney- Contact info: [email protected]; 585-377-5487[/author_info]