Peaceful Divorce and Amicable Divorce without Court
Heartspace® and The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Mediation Model offer you the skills, tools and support to create a Peaceful Divorce, an amicable divorce without court or a mediated divorce and relieve pain instead of reliving pain! Here is a better divorce process for mediated uncontested no-fault divorce and collaborative divorce. What is unique is that I can teach you how to transform your situation into greater cooperation and peace and avoid the huge cost of divorcing in court.
If your relationship includes a history of arguing and suffering you can still create a Peaceful Divorce with The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Mediation. For relationships that include issues such as infidelity, financial or health issues and even addiction there are solutions that can be found for both of you. During conversations you and/or your partner can learn to diminish the harsh aspects of your relationship and generate the listening and speaking balance that is the first step to cooperation and the first step to an amicable divorce without court or a mediated divorce. If you also wish to develop your own ability to create more peace because of co-parenting needs, Heartspace® skills have been proven to allow clients to transform the way that they think, listen, speak and act so that more needs are met, money is saved and cooperation returns to everyone’s life.
Heartspace® offers you the tools, skills and support you need to transform your relationship NOW!
Since 2004 Susan Allan’s advice columns have been published in newspapers and on websites specializing in:
The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Model of Mediation offers an effective alternative to conventional divorce and its high risk of unnecessary emotional and financial damage. Our mission is to provide skills and support so that people can work together to resolve their disputes while protecting the assets and well-being of the entire family. We offer pragmatic solutions and strategies proven to help minimize the pain, and the wasted time and the money spent on divorce. For many, The Divorce Forum™ Collaborative Model of mediation can become a part of the healing process which helps families to fulfill their individual and joint needs before moving forward to more peaceful and productive lives.
Divorce is one of the most difficult times in life, and it is also an opportunity to set the foundation for the future and to learn from the past. We are here to help you create an amicable divorce. This unique collaborative divorce model, pioneered by certified mediator Susan Allan, includes the following components described below. To find out if Divorce Forum® Collaborative Mediation is appropriate for you let’s discuss all your options and allow me to support you in transforming your relationship concerns to peaceful solutions; your 1 hour private complimentary telephone consultation will answer many of your questions and let you know your next steps to peaceful divorce.
“Susan, I think of you so often and always with such gratitude and affection. You taught me so much in such a short period of time and I continue to use that knowledge in my practice and life. Every time I have another professional success I think of you. Huge hugs and a thousand blessings to you, dear friend. Xoxoox” Emily Gould, Esq. Attorney and Mediator, Founder Empatia Resolutions Montpelier VT
Why choose Susan Allan as a Divorce Mediator or Divorce Coach to create your Amicable Divorce ?
Susan Allan is a certified mediator who has created an alternative to the adversarial system that litigation provides for people wishing to end their marriage. The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Model was invented by Susan Allan in 1999 after her own life-threatening divorce and you can ask her all the questions you may have during your complimentary 1 hour telephone consultation. Susan will be able to discuss your own divorce and explain options that include mediated divorce, and amicable divorce without court. Wouldn't you rather save money rather than waste it on a lengthy painful divorce process?
What is Divorce Mediation and how does it create an Amicable Divorce?
Divorce Mediation is a process available to help divorcing couples voluntarily work through disagreements in order to fulfill their responsibilities to each other and to their family. You will be assisted in working out a peaceful and satisfying agreement on the issues which must be resolved in divorce: parenting, and the division of assets and property. This is a better divorce process that creates a mediated divorce and an uncontested divorce for you.
Who is A Mediated Divorce for?
Mediation is for:
- Couples who have made a decision to divorce.
- Couples who may not have decided to divorce, but who want a legal separation.
- Couples that include one partner who is considering divorce
- Couples with post-divorce decree issues or disputes.
Mediation is not only for couples who agree; it is a process designed to help any couple regardless of existing differences. The unique opportunity of experiencing The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Model is that once a couple experiences the peaceful results with this form of mediation, future issues of child or spousal support may be resolved easily through mediation or by the divorced couples who can now continue the peaceful process of reaching agreements without further mediation. Thus a mediated divorce without court gets you and your spouse moving towards a life of peace! An amicable divorce can move you to an amicable co-parenting life which is the best gift you can give your children.
What are the benefits of Mediated Divorce?
- Enables individuals to emerge from a divorce with respect for the partner and with self-respect intact.
- Protects family relationships when you divorce without court
- Establishes a foundation for continued co-parenting without attorneys and court
- Benefits children, by reducing conflict
- Focuses on the present and future -- not the past.
- Strengthens commitment to an agreement that you create and that works
- Is time-limited and convenient
- Offers an Informal context over the phone in many cases
- Avoids public disclosure of personal matters, because it is confidential
- Parties retain control over process
- Controls costs, financially and emotionally
- Is empowering because it's an amicable divorce
- Respects self-determination
“As an attorney and a mediator, I’m delighted with the results of Susan Allan’s Divorce Forum Collaborative Model. Her recommended use of a dissolution financial expert or CFDA whose financial expertise exceeds any divorce lawyer I’ve met, clarifies all the monetary issues so that much of the work necessary to reach an agreement during mediation is already clarified and completed. Her use of Compassionate Communication SM in all her mediations is unique to any practitioner in the country. Her inclusion of additional experts, including parenting, and real estate specialists as part of the collaborative process should they be necessary, has proven effective time and time again. The results have been peaceful, time-efficient, cost-effective dissolution work that has benefited me and my clients in the highest possible way. I believe there is no better approach to divorce anywhere in the world today. Arnold S. Jaffe, Esq. Santa Barbara attorney
How does The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Model Work?
Unlike traditional mediation, the family’s needs as a whole are considered before individual concerns and solutions are considered. This single distinction is responsible for more peacefully resolved divorces than all other unique components of The Divorce Forum® Mediation. If you are seeking an amicable divorce without court this is a great solution that avoids and solves the key aspects of lengthy and costly divorces.
You will meet with your mediator to work out the major issues raised by the decision to divorce. Your mediator will help identify the issues you need to resolve, and help guide you through the decision-making process toward the most successful agreement that will work for both of you and for your children.
A Memorandum of Agreement will be drafted by the mediator for your review, after which it is given to you. At this time please be sure to confer with legal advisors for implementation. You may opt to use your own attorneys and please let us know if you need a few referral options. This agreement becomes the basis for an uncontested divorce.
If your divorce is strictly a financial dissolution as most divorces are where there are no minor children we suggest that you confer with a CPA specializing in dissolution or a CDFA. Then your mediation can move forward swiftly and moothly. We recommend that you have your child support and/or spousal support numbers assessed by a CPA specializing in divorce (dissolution) or a CDFA, certified divorce financial analyst because numbers are best addressed by a numbers specialist. If you also wish to consult an attorney you will be able to control expenditures by having the figures assessed by one of these financial experts whose skills are strictly focused on the marital assets and marital debts. Mediation clients often have their mediators run their numbers even though this is not the specialty of any mediator. Many clients find that a preliminary 1-3 hour consultation with a CPA or a CDFA is both more accurate and so much less costly than beginning with legal computations.
“Susan Allan’s unique mediation model adds two new components to traditional mediation. The first is the immediate utilization of a certified divorce financial analyst or CPA specializing in dissolution. With this strategy, mediation time is cut in half as appropriate financial and legal guidelines are offered to both parties. The second is her use of Nonviolent Communication SM which has the mediator “translate” critical and judgmental words into the unmet needs of each party. As I have observed when working with Susan, this allows real compassion to grow in the most challenging of environments. She has assisted many of my clients to resolve their issues in a sane, economical and timely way.” Deanie Kramer, Certified Mediator and Mediator for Divorce Court Television; President Dispute Resolution Specialists, Inc. and Divorce Resource, Inc.
What are the Steps Involved?
- The mediation process is explained to each party during an individual telephone intake conversation.
- Each party gathers the data needed for the unique decisions inherent in each divorce. In addition to those areas that determine the welfare of minor children, you will both identify the matters you need to decide.
- Experts may be consulted. We have established working relations with CPAs and CDFAs, attorneys, childcare experts, addiction specialists, financial planners, and other specialists who are often needed during the divorce process:
- Financial experts are consulted; a CDFA or Divorce Financial Planner or CPA/accountant specializing in dissolution will create the spread sheet and total figures required by each state’s legal system if child support and/or spousal support are issues included in your divorce. Once you have your first meeting with the mediator and your spouse, you will have clarified the issues to be considered. You may opt to use the same financial expert if you and your spouse are able to be transparent or you may prefer two different experts.
- Independent real estate, household goods, and vehicle appraisals will be sought by each spouse where applicable.
- Families experiencing challenging issues of parenting may appreciate consulting a child psychologist to support you with options in creating joint or shared custody.
- With The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Mediation pets are always considered as family members and what works for you and for your children will always be factored into the survival and well-being of all pets.
- During your mediation, you will receive support from your mediator as you consider available options to resolve all your issues. When you have reached an agreement, the memorandum is drafted which incorporates the agreements you have both reached. The agreement is binding when and if you decide that you agree on all the contents of the mediated agreement. Many clients choose to seek legal advice before signing the agreement. This allows you to have the benefits of mediation in saving time and money while also benefiting from legal expertise.
- The Marital Settlement Agreement will be filed by a paralegal in your state or by a neutral attorney in your state based on your preference. The cost for this is normally 1-3 hours of legal or paralegal fee plus standard court filing fees.
“I highly recommend Susan Allan. Susan Allan brings an innovative approach to ‘Collaborative Divorce Mediation’. Ms. Allan is refreshing in her consumer-friendly approach. She is a new voice in the collaborative mediation arena and definitely needs to be heard by our membership. Ms. Allan is one of the top leading experts and practitioners in Southern California utilizing collaboration in divorce mediation.” Deborah A. Thomas, Associate Executive Director, Los Angeles County Bar association, Dispute resolution Service Inc
Are there cases that shouldn't be in mediation?
Mediation works in many more situations than you might imagine. However, in situations where parties are unable to assert their needs or do not feel free to speak their mind without fear of consequences, mediation may not be appropriate. In these cases Divorce Coaching combined with mediation has proven to be extremely successful. Susan Allan, founder of The Divorce Forum Mediation is America’s leading divorce coach. By expanding the “caucus”, a normal component of mediation, coaching may occur during the mediations with only one spouse present or may take place for days, weeks or even months prior to mediation so that the couple’s issues may be discussed in a calm and reasonable manner by both partners.
What issues are dealt with?
Clients can choose to discuss a wide range of concerns including:
- Child Support
- Spousal support
Issues that often arise which are handled in Divorce Coaching (see below) may include:
- Concerns about transparency
- Third party relationships
How long does Mediation take?
Mediation is time-limited and, unlike the court process, does not drag on indefinitely. Mediation varies in length depending on the complexity of the issues involved and the readiness of the couple. Most couples complete the actual mediation within hours. However, the time from the first telephone consultation and intake session to the mediation itself will allow you to generate the data required for an agreement. Most couples finalize the entire process, from intake to settlement, within a few weeks or months, depending on the amount of data, property, debts and emotional triggers that are included in the marriage and divorce.
If you have already consulted an attorney
People frequently consult an attorney when a separation or divorce seems in the cards. Mediation is not a substitute for the services of an attorney. You are free to consult with your attorney - except you will be using that attorney in a different way, as advisor rather than to create adversarial processes. When you opt for mediation, you now make the decisions that will affect your life; and you may decide to include legal support.
Do we need an attorney?
Choosing mediation does not mean that you will not have the services of an attorney. While the decisions in mediation are made by you, they must be informed decisions.
What does Mediation Cost?
The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Model has proven to be among the most cost-effective and successful mediation processes due to peaceful nature of the Nonviolent Communication background of key mediator, Susan Allan. In addition as the firm is a 501 c 3 non-profit, this component of the firm provides tax benefits for the clients within the United States. The mediation costs are based on an hourly fee that can be shared by both parties in a way that you agree is fair. Although this mediation process may involve the services of a mediator, consulting attorneys, and an attorney or paralegal to file the documents in Family Court as well as filing fees, the costs of a mediated divorce are typically a small percentage of the expense of a conventional litigated divorce. If you have complicated aspects to your financial picture the most affordable way to translate complicated funds, portfolios etc. is with the additional hourly services of a CPA or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst who, if you prefer, can be referred by Susan Allan. This expert will then provide one or two fair and equitable options that can then be peacefully mediated.
Why is this form of mediation so affordable? That's because you, and not your attorneys, are doing the talking. When both parties agree to work together toward a common goal and to share expenses, costs - including time, money, and emotional costs – the process is less expensive than those of a contested and therefore litigated, court-directed divorce. While you may decide to divide the payment in other ways the most common is a 50%/50% division. In a state such as California where the average cost of a divorce is $30,000, The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Model saves you money and can save your family from pain and suffering through the stress of a litigated or normal collaborative divorce.
Cost of Divorce Forum® Collaborative Mediation and Payment Options
Step 1 is Mediation via telephone or in-person sessions. (See below)
Once we have reached your agreement you will each sign off on this “Mediated Agreement” that is transcribed based on our conversations. Creation of this Mediated Agreement by your Mediator will require one or more hours depending on the simplicity or complexity of your assets/debts and other factors. This aspect of the process is charged as follows: every hour of writing the Mediated Agreement equals 1 half hour of Telephone mediation (see below).
Step 2 has the Paralegal creating your “Marital Settlement Agreement” The paralegal that we recommend takes the “Mediated Agreement” and transforms it into the court-required “Marital Settlement Agreement” and you each sign this formal document. The current fee for this service in Los Angeles as of February 2018 $800 and the paralegal reserves the right for a minor fee adjustment by the time your agreement has been completed based on any updated Family Court requirements. The services of an attorney or paralegal are required to create and file the mediated agreement, your “Marital Settlement Agreement” that is created by your work with Susan Allan and all mediators. The cost in each state is different so we will help you find the cost for your own state.
Step 3 is the Court Filing of your “Marital Settlement Agreement” that is the official divorce filing. Currently the filing fees are $435 in California and are subject to change based on the Family Court System in your state. The cost in each state is different so we will help you find the cost for your own state. The paralegal we recommend will file the Marital Settlement Agreement for you as part of her fee in Step 2 (above). You may choose to file your own Marital Settlement Agreement if you wish.
For a complimentary 1 hour telephone consultation please email [email protected].
All mediation is billed and payable before the beginning of each Mediation session through www.paypal.com utilizing their online secure payment service so that you may use a debit or credit card for payment. Ms. Allan will process your debit or credit card before the first session begins. Many clients are pleased because of the benefits of using a credit card and the points or airline benefits involved.
Telephone Mediations are the most affordable and stress-less option. Telephone mediation sessions are available at 6 prepaid hours for $1400 or 12 prepaid hours for $2400. As you near the completion of your Mediation if you need a few additional hours you may purchase them at $200 per hour. Please note that due to the work required in order to prepare for Mediation this option is not possible at the beginning of Mediation.
Susan Allan’s in-person mediation fee is $400 per hour and you will be charged at the full hourly rate for any portion of an hour greater than a half hour. You will need to provide valid credit/debit card information when scheduling your mediation as you will be charged for each scheduled mediation session the morning of each mediation session. Should you agree that your mediation continue longer than it has been scheduled, the balance of the mediation fee will be charged at the end of the mediation session.
For mediations in Southern California, there is a 1 hour ($400) total fee for total travel time within 3 hours of Santa Barbara CA. For mediations in other areas of California and worldwide please provide your location information so that we can provide you with the details of cost of nationwide and worldwide mediation if travel is required. As Susan is one of the pioneers of telephone mediation please remember that the telephone mediation costs are far less and the results have been consistently excellent and Susan has successfully mediated numerous international mediations as well as those in many states within the United States.
Long-distance and International Mediation
When I pioneered Telephone Mediation in 1999 I discovered that the need for peaceful, affordable no-court divorce and mediation to resolve other issues was global. I have worked with countless clients worldwide facilitating divorces, legal separations, shared custody agreements, and each has been completed with peace, respect and fairness. While certain cases require the input of an attorney there is never a benefit to fighting in court with attorneys; utilizing your family’s hard-earned resources in this manner.
For a complimentary 1 hour telephone consultation please email [email protected].
Additional Experts You May Consult
If you have parenting or real-estate or financial (stock portfolio issues etc.) it may become necessary for your Mediator to ask for and receive permission to consult with additional experts, always upon prior approval by the mediating couple. When your mediator is consulting with the expert, the fee for these hourly fees will also be charged at the Mediation rate and you will be billed for these conferences each week. As you will also be paying for the parenting or real-estate or financial expertise you may wish to be present during these telephone consultations that are on your behalf.
Why Choose Mediation?
Choosing mediation is choosing to take charge of your life at a point where many things seem to be spinning out of control. Mediation avoids much of the damaging consequences of adversarial divorces. Most complex divorces go on for years. Prolonged divorces deplete assets, interrupt the personal lives and careers of both spouses, and interfere with both parties' opportunities for personal growth and their desire for peace. During some litigated divorces, assets are frozen, forcing spouses to deal with extremely challenging financial scenarios.
I'm very angry now! We can't even talk to each other!
It would be unusual if you weren't angry! For many, divorce may be a highly disruptive experience. Mediation is not just for people who are already cooperating. Mediation is often most helpful when you and your partner are having trouble talking on your own. The question is not how you feel now, but where you want to go and how swiftly do you wish to arrive at a peaceful settlement? Do you want to end up in a no-holds-barred battle, or do you want to reach a cooperative resolution? Would you like to move on to the rest of your life, without bitterness or regrets? If so, we can help you get there. Susan Allan’s skills have been proven to allow couples to hear one another, and to consider all their options to meet the needs of the family and create agreements.
“Divorce Coaching” and Caucus
Mediation works in many more situations than you might imagine. In high-stress divorce scenarios, Allan has pioneered an extension of the traditional Caucus within mediation. In traditional mediation, when one partner is experiencing a high degree of stress, the mediator accompanies that partner to a separate and private room so that the mediator may deflect the emotions by hearing the spouse’s concerns. After each caucus, the mediator maintains the client's request for privacy so that issues that have been discussed during a Caucus are not included in the mediation process. If the client decides to share the content of the conversation with the other client, that is permitted. For some couples, a brief caucus takes place during the mediation session and offers enough support. Allan’s experience has demonstrated that a traditional Caucus strategy may be cost-prohibitive as mediation comes to a halt during each Caucus and it is also additionally stressful for the spouse waiting in the mediation room. In some divorce mediations, Caucus is utilized with each spouse needing to Caucus at different times with the mediator. Sometimes, one or both partners find it extremely difficult to maintain the tone of voice and demeanor that allows mediation to go forward, yet at the same time they may have the need for mediation instead of the costly and emotionally trying process of litigation. Rather than stopping the mediation repeatedly in order to Caucus, and in situations where calm conversation is challenging for one or both partners, Susan Allan offers a unique, effective and invaluable process called Divorce Forum ® Collaborative Divorce Coaching. Allan’s unique Divorce Coaching allows these Caucus conversations to occur via telephone on days between mediation sessions and at the same time the reduced expense of telephone Divorce Coaching benefits both partners. Allan’s results of combining Divorce Coaching with mediation have proven to be extremely successful. Susan Allan, founder of The Divorce Forum Mediation, and a certified mediator, is also America’s leading Divorce Coach. Divorce Coaching allows individuals to learn techniques to bring themselves back to peace so that mediation may successfully proceed to its conclusion. Through real-life role-plays using the situations included in each individual's divorce or family dynamic, Susan Allan offers training in The 6 Part Conversation©, Marital Mediation© and Nonviolent Communication®. If you choose to participate in Divorce Coaching, the fee for this service is additional to mediation fees.
Divorce Coaching Fees are payable via www.paypal.com before the sessions begin
6 hour-long telephone sessions $1400
12 hour-long telephone sessions $2400
“Motivate to Mediate Training”
Often a couple may need to mediate for financial reasons, yet they may have difficulty communicating or even sharing the same room together. In such a case, Susan Allan has invented her “Motivate to Mediate Training” which allows one partner to learn The 6 Part Conversation© before mediation begins so that new ways of thinking, listening, speaking and acting are created. In such cases, couples who have been arguing for years, and have been unable to discuss simple issues like meals, vacations or entertainment options, often find that they can now engage in a mediated discussion about the most crucial issues of their lives and of their family and children’s needs. In some cases, couples torn apart by retraining orders have found that their mutual financial benefits were best served by letting go of the past, learning new language skills and mediating to resolve their conflict.
How Do I Begin?
To find out if mediation is appropriate for you, call us at 805-695-8405 to discuss your options. If it seems appropriate, we will set up a telephone intake session for each of you so that you may learn more about mediation and can decide whether this process is the solution you have sought to work out your separation or divorce, understanding that mediation is the least stressful path to divorce. The Divorce Forum SM Collaborative Model also provides you with the training you need to mediate on-going co-parenting issues without your mediator once you have mastered the 6 Part Conversation© and Marital Mediation©.
How can this Form of Mediation support Children?
The latest research on divorce suggests that it is not so much that you are getting divorced that will affect your children as much as how you go about this divorce. Ongoing conflict between you and your spouse is considered most problematic for your children, according to The Divorce Forum® consulting psychotherapist, Frank Zizzo, Ph.D. Long-term research on divorce suggests that while divorce may cause distress in children, it need not cause disorder. With The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Model there is less stress than in any other form of mediated or litigated divorce because there is less disruption. Telephone mediations with this process are the least stressful option as there is usually an additional trigger when spouses are in the same room together discussing their future. Please remember that no matter the age of your children; whether they are young or teenagers or adults; weddings, graduations, grandchildren and all family events can only be enjoyable post-divorce if you and your spouse can be peaceful and that is one benefit of The Divorce Forum® Collaborative Model.
What is Accelerated Mediation?
Accelerated Mediation is an intensive mediation process designed to bring parties in conflict to mutually agreeable results in a concentrated time period, usually completed in two days. While some mediators offer accelerated mediation some of the time, The Divorce Forum® Mediation model IS accelerated mediation.
How does Accelerated Mediation work?
Advance preparation is an important part of the “A.M.” process. We assist the parties in identifying and gathering the information that may be needed to inform their decisions during the mediation process. In addition, legal counsel may, at the discretion of the parties, participate in the mediation, although that is a guarantee that your mediation will be lengthier and more expensive. Your best option is ot consult with your attorney outside of the mediation sessions.
Attention is focused on identifying the needs and interests of each party, developing options for mutual gain and identifying objective criteria for completing the agreement. Parties may wish to confer with during the process to clarify and resolve any issues that may arise during the mediation. The mediation concludes when the parties have reached agreement. A draft document is prepared which the parties and/or the parties’ attorneys finalize. The final document is filed by an attorney upon whom both spouses have agreed. Once the Marital Settlement Agreement has been filed you will observe the legal “waiting period” in your state and then your divorce will be final. And with this finality you will be ready to move forward to the next exciting phase of your life.
“Susan eliminates barriers, traveling the way of spirit and heart. She allows people to enter that area, and say ‘Yes’ instead of “No”. Susan Allan is the wings people glide on as she brings them through these difficult times seeing through the clear eye of the eagle. She respects their path and their history so that they go forward without their burdens.” Charles R. Quintero, Peacemaker to the Navajo Nations, California certified mediator and arbitrator
“Thanks; I talked to her late last night, and it actually went very well. Both of us were able to clear the air and say things that we needed to say. Then we were able to move on, talk about what we have both been doing the past month for fun. It went better than I could have expected. It was weird when finished we had such a better understanding, and know each other better than we ever have. This is the best things have been since we were both first married; thanks again for everything.” JA, Los Angeles CA