When people have a consultation with us or reach out to work with us one question often asked is “what makes West Coast Family Mediation Center different than other mediators in town?” This seemed like a good question to answer when discussing property, assets, and debts and how a mediator can help.
At West Coast Family Mediation Center, many of our mediators are also CDFAs® (Certified Divorce Financial Analysts®). To obtain the CDFA® credential, one must go through a 12-month long course and take tests along the way to ensure the student is absorbing all the information. I graduated from law school in 2004 and began working in the field of family law beginning my final year of law school. I learned about the CDFA® credential and became certified in 2012. I can’t begin to explain how much the CDFA training filled in major gaps that were not filled by my law school education and the 8-years of experience following obtaining my J.D. It opened my eyes to how much money was often left on the table due to not accounting for various financial issues throughout the divorce process.
Involving a CDFA® in Assets
I was alarmed to learn as much as I did and realized how many divorces, especially ones in litigation, went through the entire process without so much as discussing many of the issues I had now learned about. Needless to say, if there are significant assets in a divorce, you should always have a CDFA® involved, no matter which process you’re in including litigation, mediation, etc.
So now you have your CDFA® and mediator in an ideal world, how can your mediator help you when attempting to divide your assets and sometimes your debts?
We begin our process with an individual one-on-one exploratory meeting to help us understand your position. What are your main goals, interests, concerns, and fears? Knowing what is at the root of your interests helps us organize future joint sessions around both you and your spouse’s main objectives. It is our job to clear the clutter and look for win-win scenarios among all the options available. Our clients are often overwhelmed when asked to make these difficult decisions, knowing they will shape the rest of their life. As your mediator, we are here to take it all in, inventory it, analyze it, consider the options, and brainstorm with you to offer strategic solutions.
Because mediation is a more warm, friendly, and collaborative atmosphere, this process lends itself to taking time to consider different options, rather than having every potential option immediately shut down if it isn’t the way an issue is “typically handled.” Divorce is a process and journey. It is not only about the outcome, but also how you get there. It is important you do not destroy the relationship along the way, especially when children are involved. Having a place that fosters patience, openness, and creativity helps to ensure all potential rocks have been turned over and considered before they are dismissed.
It is amazing to see the type of agreements that can be made when all parties remain open to new ideas and eager to learn all the pros and cons of the ideas already on the table. There is always a way to make the situation livable for both parties. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing it has to be a negative experience with catastrophic results. At West Coast Family Mediation Center, we have spent the last 15 years improving our structure and processes to provide our clients the best experience they can find when faced with the insurmountable task of separating their families. Schedule a consultation appointment today.
by: Jennifer Segura