Author: Terri Breer

The “Vanilla Version” of the Law in Divorce Mediation5 min read

The “Vanilla Version” of the Law in Divorce Mediation5 min read

Even though a mediator should never provide legal counsel to either party, a good divorce mediator will often need to provide their clients with basic legal information or specific legal rules that are undisputedly applicable to a particular marital asset. Sometimes when my clients have a proposal for dividing a particular asset in their marital estate, they will quickly abandon their original proposal when they become informed of what I refer to as the “vanilla version” of the law. The parties may discover that one or both will want to resolve the disposition of the asset differently once they become informed of the applicable legal rules. For example, a couple comes to mediation and informs their mediator that they have agreed that each spouse will keep…

Managing Anger in Mediation8 min read

Managing Anger in Mediation8 min read

As a divorce mediator working with divorcing couples for over 30 years, I have learned that helping clients manage their anger during the divorce process is often the most effective tool in facilitating my clients’ settlement process. Anger can hijack the parties’ ability to think clearly, leading to poor judgment and decision making. Spouses with hot tempers do foolish things. If expressions of anger are not controlled during the mediation process anger causes mistakes that the parties will regret later.  Anger is not static and if one party’s anger is not controlled anger is often contagious. Your clients always lose when they lose their tempers, and they can get stuck in the crisis and chaos of divorce instead of focusing on how to problem solve and…

Divorce Rules for Co-Parents in the New Year & Every Year4 min read

Divorce Rules for Co-Parents in the New Year & Every Year4 min read

In 1999 Ann Marie Termini Ed.S, MS and Susan Boyan, LMFT published The Divorce Rules for Parents, a list of 20 rules that they instructed divorced parents to post on their refrigerator as a reminder of their commitment to care. They suggested that parents share these rules with their child, to ask their child to let them know if they forget one of these rules, and to never reprimand their child when he or she gives either parent feedback.  As we enter the New Year and the 25th anniversary of the publication of The Divorce Rules for Parents I can’t think of a better way to help parents to resolve to always remember to focus on the needs of their children following their divorce. Here are Termini and…

The Advantages Of Flat Fee Divorce Mediation2 min read

The Advantages Of Flat Fee Divorce Mediation2 min read

Breer Law Offices has been providing flat fee divorce mediation services for over 25 years. Our flat fee 5-Step Divorce Mediation Program provides not only the certainty of the costs of the mediation process, but also offers a “one stop shop” for all the services related to negotiating settlements and filing the divorce paperwork with the court. Our clients never see the inside of the courthouse and make their own decisions regarding parenting their children, determining the amount of child and spousal support, and how they will divide their marital property. Our Flat Fees include 3 to 5 mediation sessions and all the paperwork necessary to complete the divorce process. Over 90% of our clients will sign their divorce settlement at their last session. When…

What is the Identity of a Divorce Mediator?2 min read

What is the Identity of a Divorce Mediator?2 min read

It is often said that the dominant culture of divorce is an adversarial one. A culture where winning and losing is the name of the game and that divorce is war. Family attorneys most often identify with the litigation community. If family litigation is the prevailing divorce culture then the family mediation community is a counter culture. The way one identifies with a community or culture is to look at the following factors: 1) How do the members of the culture or community behave; 2) What do its members believe, and 3) To what organizations do they belong? The members of the Family Mediation Community behave in a manner that fosters consensual and amicable decision making. They act in ways that encourage problem solving, and…

Give up your Wizards!2 min read

Give up your Wizards!2 min read

Many people will advise divorcing couples to rely on their attorneys and the Judge assigned to their case to obtain the best result in their divorce proceedings. Divorcing couples and their well meaning friends and family members may believe that the court will be the best place to solve all of their family law disputes and that magically the Judge will know what to do in their case and will grant them all their wishes in the divorce. Like Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion who are “off to see the Wizard” and travel to the Emerald City because they are certain the Wizard of Oz will provide them all they desire, divorcing couples go to the Courthouse eager to present…

Avoid Getting “the Twisties” – Mediate Don’t Litigate2 min read

Avoid Getting “the Twisties” – Mediate Don’t Litigate2 min read

Many of us learned the gymnastic term the “twisties” this week when the news broke that world-renowned gymnast, Simone Biles, had withdrawn from the women’s all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics. “I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to,” Biles told reporters in Tokyo and she stated that she “wanted to focus on her mental health.” Apparently, getting “the twisties” is a gymnast’s biggest nightmare. The twisties are described as a mysterious phenomenon — suddenly a gymnast is no longer able to do a twisting skill he or she has done thousands of times before. Elle Reeve, a CNN reporter who used to compete in gymnastics said the twisties are a condition where, “Your body just won’t cooperate, your brain loses track…

Avoid the Sting of Divorce Litigation3 min read

Avoid the Sting of Divorce Litigation3 min read

Many divorce litigation attorneys are highly skilled and knowledgeable about family law and may be Certified Family Law Specialists. Litigation attorneys often reassure their clients that they will fight for them and secure all they are entitled to in the divorce. A spouse going through a divorce will often find that their litigation attorney is comforting, caring, and understanding, but litigation attorneys like the great boxing champion, Mohammed Ali, are trained to fight. They may look like butterflies, but they can sting like bees. Attorneys are first trained to fight in law school, where they learn how to persuade, negotiate, apply pressure, and use the strength of the law to convince a Judge to make a ruling in their client’s favor. Their law professors teach…

No Prenup? No Problem. The Family Law Code is Your Marital Contract2 min read

No Prenup? No Problem. The Family Law Code is Your Marital Contract2 min read

Most couples marry without a prenuptial agreement; however, even if the couple does not create a prenuptial agreement, they are in essence getting a prenup when they marry, because the entire family law code is now embedded in their relationship. Couples who marry in a community property state have in essence formed a partnership with terms that were never negotiated. Other than the parties’ mutual agreement to marry and their wedding vows, there is usually no specific “meeting of the minds” on the specific terms and conditions of the marital relationship. Their marital agreement is also going to be impacted by societal values, norms, and laws that often change during the marriage. Marriage is not an “arms-length transaction.” It is based on intimacy and emotions….

Mediation – The Gift that Keeps on Giving1 min read

Mediation – The Gift that Keeps on Giving1 min read

If you are divorcing and have avoided litigating with your spouse by using mediation to resolve your divorce you have given yourself and your children a gift that keeps on giving. It is a gift that demonstrates your ability to put your family first. It is a gift that will empower you to make wise decisions and control the outcome of your divorce. Mediation is a gift that allows you to preserve your finances so that your retirement and your children’s college fund will remain intact after the divorce. It is a gift that will give you skills that you can use to resolve the inevitable conflict that will arise with your ex-spouse as you co-parent in the future. Be sure and share the gift…