Back to School

Some great ideas that I share with all of my clients who deal with parenting schedules. We tend to look at our scheduled time as our own, and quickly learn that as the children get older and more involved in school or other activities- we are subject to their schedule instead of the other way around.

claritymediation

Back to SchoolIt’s that time of year again when the beach trips, camps, and pool days are over and the back to school hustle begins. In addition to shopping for new clothes, shoes, and backpacks, parents are figuring out exactly how many boxes of tissues one class really needs and why aren’t there any three-prong, two-pocket, yellow plastic folders in the entire city? Then, beyond the stuff, comes the schedules. Parents have to learn their child’s new schedule during the school day, any new drop-off or pick-up procedures and after-school and weekend activities. All of this is enough to make anyone’s head swim. If you’re co-parenting you now have an extra job: coordinating all this between the two of you in as peaceful a way possible.

With all the modern (and free!) technology available these days coordinating schedules between co-parents doesn’t have to be a struggle. Most schools have several different ways for…

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Divorce Mediation is a Waste of Time

I’ve heard it so many times.  My clients say that mediation won’t work for them.  The most common reason they give is that the other party (ie: {exes} spouse or significant other) won’t agree to anything reasonable.  The second most common reason given is that they will only do something if forced to by a Judge. Both are absolutely right.

****Of course we won’t agree to anything “reasonable”.  “Reasonable” went out the window when they became so difficult to work with.  We want everything we have worked for, and we deserve it.  Why would we agree to throw it all away to someone who isn’t even qualified to be on our team any more? How could we be expected to do that? Who in their right mind would do that willingly?

We worked hard.  It doesn’t matter if it was a relationship that lasted one year or 25 years.  We worked hard and we sacrificed for the sake of the team we were building.  And now that we are finally freeing ourselves of the baggage of that team mate who just didn’t make the cut; you want me to agree to GIVE them some of the things we worked together for?!?! Willingly? Not in this lifetime.  Not unless you can compensate me for everything that’s being taken.****

Now while that isn’t exactly a direct quote from any one client, it is a message that nearly every client feels at one point or another. And who could blame them?

The truth is that both parties (ie: people- when your life becomes a court case you get labeled as “parties”) absolutely deserve 80% or more of what they’ve worked together for and no matter how hard you fight, half of 100% will never be the 80% you deserve.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a ready and willing litigation system available to help you fight, and make the decisions for you. But if you would rather decide for yourself what exactly you are willing to go without (and become responsible for); then mediation gives you the opportunity to think about it, talk about it, research it, think about it some more, and when you’re sure you are ready- decide on it.

Nothing is 50/50.  Nothing is fair.  The whole thing isn’t fair and nobody likes it.  But it’s happening.  There’s RCW’s and extensive official opinions written from people (whom you will never meet), that outline what is equitable in your exact situation.  But only you know what you want and why.

One of the most common epiphanies to occur in my office is the logistics of what we think we want.  We put our foot down and WILL NOT settle for {XYZ}!!! But then when we go home and look at the new place we just moved into, we realize that it has a different layout than where we moved from. Half the furniture we were demanding won’t really fit, and the stuff we threatened to sell on craigslist is perfect for the new place (yes this happens a lot).  Or even that we will not under any circumstances give up Wednesday dinner with the kids, but when we think about it, we get off work early on Fridays so maybe it would actually be better to get the kids at 3 instead of 6 and skip Wednesday (this actually happens even more than the furniture mess).  The point here is that it takes time, and many conversations to figure some of these things out. And it should.  You need to think about your schedule, your new living arrangement, your needs, your wants, and your future.

What you don’t need to think about is what you can get away with, or what you are entitled to.  You are entitled to things that don’t exist anymore and fighting over them won’t make them available. Taking something just to compensate what you can’t get won’t fill the void either.

You need resolve. You need to move on. You need mediation.

You are Ready to Move On!

We all know that my job is never boring.  One piece I’m finding particularly interesting today is the number of people who are still legally married but have been separated in real life for a while, often a long while.  I’d say a decent percentage of my calls are from clients who just need to get their divorce finalized (and what they really mean is get the divorce started!)

I see how it happens, and I’m glad that there’s such a large number of people who have no interest in seeking the Fight as the Answer.  Whether you were married for one year or 15, it seems it is not uncommon to disentangle actual “real” life, and forego dealing with the paperwork.  The obvious reality of it is that it took paperwork to get married, and it takes paperwork to get UN-married (or as I like to say- “get single”).

When 2 people have been separated for years, it seems the most common time they seek the dissolution of their marriage is when they want to get married again, or add a new family member to their new(est) relationship.  Well that makes sense.  You don’t want to keep the old spouse when you get a new one.

These situations are really among the more pleasant of sessions held.  The clients usually have been living out some kind of existing schedule regarding finances, children, and whatever else was combined during the marriage.  I can often help them iron out any discomforts they had been simply enduring for the sake of not having to talk to one another.  Every client, every family, and every situation has their own set of standards that they live comfortably with, as well as some they don’t want to live with anymore.  No two stories are the same.  I am asked so many times, “What’s normal?”.  I have to reply with literally the same question.  I can offer parallels, similarities, generalities, but no “normal”.  The longer I’m a Mediator, the more firmly I believe that if you can think of it, people are doing it.

As I stated, I’m happy to be here for the people who are Ready to Move On.  And I am so very well aware of how life gets busy, life gets complicated, life gets fun, or life gets scary, and any one of those is a valid reason the details get put on hold.

I was just wanting to share a few thoughts on how we all live so differently, yet find some of the most interesting variables in common.  I also wanted to encourage any one that is hesitant to make an appointment because it has been so long, or maybe you’ve even made appointments with me, or another lawyer or Mediator; only to cancel, reschedule, or simply decide not to go.  While I am in no way a fan of no-shows- I do understand.  I also am not here to judge what ever has gone on in your life that led you to where you are now.  I’m here to help you get to where you want to be.

So don’t be shy.  Get on with your life!  I sure hope today’s note finds you enjoying your day.

And remember- The Rest of Your Life Begins Here.

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Click Here to see Why Belinda J?

Love

Love is Patient.

Love is Kind.

Love does not Envy.

Love does not Boast.

Love is not Arrogant.

Love is not Rude.

Love is not Selfish.

Love is not Irritable.

Love keeps no record of Wrongs.

Love does not delight in Evil.

Love rejoices in the Truth.

Love always Protects.

Love always Trusts.

Love always Hopes.

Love always Perseveres.

All of this is why

LOVE NEVER FAILS

It is the impurities so inevitably added to our love that are the rightful place of blame for what we call Love’s Failure.

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Your Perception or My Reality?

We all know that our perception is our reality.  We also know that the same perception isn’t shared by everyone.  When it comes to a shared experience, we can easily, and emphatically, feel that a person who describes the experience differently than we do to be Lying.  It often becomes a block of sorts in our mind once we determine someone to have lied about us or something we were involved in.  We experience anger regarding it.

When two (or more) persons perceptions are to be taken into consideration for purposes of decision making, we increase the risks of disagreement on the decision to be made.  And as I said, once one person feels there to be dishonesty, things can unravel quickly.

My job as Your Mediator is to facilitate communication between you.  Chances are, you have already communicated what you don’t agree on.  So my job is really to facilitate communication of what you do agree on.  Sometimes that is much like finding a needle in a haystack (or as one colleague called it- pulling a rabbit out of a hat).  The good news is that its in there somewhere.

It is not my job to tell you every word that was said when I speak privately with each party.  It is not my job to point out discrepancies you hadn’t stumbled upon yet.  I’m not here to even the score for the wrongs imposed on you by the other person.  I’m here to help you Move On.  It is my job to listen, and listen well.  When you’re the person in the dispute every thing usually sounds offensive.  Because you know intimate details about the other person, you know what their motive is and you don’t want them to get away with anything.  I don’t usually have to ask, “what do you think they’re really saying?” its usually offered immediately by the person who’s worried I missed something.  And its important.  I want you to tell me the details of why they’re saying what they’re saying.  I need all the info you can give me because I don’t know either of you at all.  I don’t have the answers- You Do.  They’re just scattered, shattered, and all but forgotten.

My office is the place to think out loud.  Let the accusations, complaints, and oh so bias perceptions fly like the wind.  These are the exact ingredients which comprise your Reality.  You come to see me because you want that reality to look different tomorrow than it does today- but we can only work with what you bring to the table.

So let it out.  Tell me the whole story.  Because within that story is the keys necessary to unlock the next chapter for you. I don’t have any of the pieces to your puzzle, but I can help you turn them to make them fit.

When you’re Ready to Move On, I’ll be here.

Sometimes all you need is Someone to Turn the Puzzle Piece.
Sometimes all you need is Someone to Turn the Puzzle Piece.

Call Today.  The rest of your life begins Here. (509) 795-6888 Or email me with questions BelindaJ.empire@gmail.com TrueNorthEmpire.com has links to my other social media sights as well as a direct link to email me.

You Selfish Resolver!

I’ve seen it in many cases throughout the years that once a couple separates; they become parent of the year, a fitness guru, or a financial planning genius.   It is often perceived by the other person to be all for show or even for spite.  I hear frequently that a parent is only attending the child’s sporting events, or volunteering at the school to make every one think they are this really great parent.  I also have clients tell me that the other person only hit the gym to make them jealous, or exclaim disgust because the spending habits that were a huge problem in the marriage are under control now that the marriage is over.  My clients feel it to be a direct jab at them for the other person to be finally doing what they had wanted for so long.  Let’s be honest- Sometimes it absolutely is.

I must ask however, why does that matter?  I realize its irritating. I understand why it’s irritating.  I’m pointing out that it’s not bad.  If a person betters them-self, whether for a moment or a lifetime, it’s not bad.  There is good available there.

When I drove by the courthouse last week there was a lot of snow on the sidewalk and the man with the hot dog stand was shoveling the walk.  Obviously he wants to keep access to his hot dog stand available.  So is he selfish?  His motive may be, or maybe not.  Maybe even if he didn’t have a hot dog stand he would have been out there shoveling the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, but I doubt it.  Many people benefited from his act of selfish kindness.   We also see it when there’s a national tragedy.  I sure hugged my kids tighter in the days before Christmas this year, and I know most every parent did.  Did we love our children less on December 13, 2012 than we did in the days after? I doubt it.  But I am certain that many families loved stronger the remaining days in 2012 and that was a positive reaction.

What I am trying to remind us all of is that positive outcomes can be derived from quite selfish motives.  If we begin acting like a more loving parent, a healthy eater, and a better financial planner- some of it will accidentally stick. While your likely to wish this desirable behavior was occurring already; not much is gained by being angry that is exists now.  What’s worse, your spending energy in the opposite direction of moving on.

Its okay to be unimpressed.   You don’t need to give bonus points for someone finally doing what they should have been doing all ready, or for helping others with a self serving motive.  But let them do it.  You don’t benefit enough from disliking the positive behavior to make it worth your time.

Want to learn more about mediation and what True North Empire can do to help you?  Call Today (509) 795-6888

The rest of your life begins Here.

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