Divorce Mediation


      Mediation is a process to resolve disputes outside of the court/ litigation process. Mediation was founded on the belief that each person has a different set of interests that can be met, even in the face of differences. While mediation does not mean the absence of conflict, in fact, it assumes and welcomes conflict, mediation does require the parties to engage in the resolution of their conflict with some ground rules, often involving respectful communication and perhaps sitting through difficult conversations. But the results from mediation often produce positive outcomes that exceed initial doubts and concerns.

      Although it has been around for decades, some misconceptions of mediation persist. Also, not all mediators come to the process with the same approach, experience or temperament. Mediation with Brian Shoemaker is not aggressive conflict dressed up with a smile. Mediation is not it a cure for unfairness and difference. It is not primarily focused on forcing a compromise of entrenched positions. It is not about teaming up with one side to force the other side to see things their way. Mediation assumes that all parties to the conflict share a mutual responsibility for working out solutions to their conflict.

      Instead, mediation with Brian Shoemaker is about understanding.  It involves focuses attention on those issues that will help the disputants resolve their issues meaningfully and effectively.


      This phase involves mediator Brian Shoemaker becoming acquainted with the parties; see why the parties want to use mediation as the process to resolve their dispute; look into their ability to meaningfully participate in the work that mediation requires, and make preliminary agreements about ground rules. Agreeing to the confidentiality of the process and communicating with respect are usually some of those rules.

      Developing the Issues

      At this point, we work with you to find out all of the necessary information essential to resolve the issues in dispute. Not surprisingly, the parties often see the important facts differently. We acknowledge and confirm where there is agreement. Information may be provided in written form or verbally. Inviting legal counsel or subject matter experts is also encouraged to the extent that it helps move the process forward and stays within the parties’ budget.

      Working Through Conflict

      It’s normal for there to be a significant degree of tension which is welcome provided it is expressed respectfully. During the process, we may observe repeating patterns that impede constructive communication. We highlight what is important to each party. This step usually critical step towards resolving the dispute. Further, we allow each party to explain the significance of their issues. Don’t be surprised if we begin to see, beyond the entrenched positions, the needs and interests of each, and on occasion, matters of deeper meaning. ( See DivorceWhisperer.org for more information on this issue)

      Developing and Evaluating Options

      Long experience suggests that this process works most effectively where we first obtain all of the essential information before brainstorming potential options. Essential information is gathered and many options are explored. Then we explore whether a solution can create more value (expand the pie instead of dividing it) and compare how an option meets both sets of needs. We look at the practical implications of the options before making a final decision. All the while, each party remains responsible for the decisions about any agreement. Tentative initial agreements are created until all issues are completely resolved.

      Concluding Agreement

      First, the issues and discussed and a set of solutions are reached, then the agreement is written. We customarily encourage parties to seek the advice (or representation) of outside legal counsel to give added confidence to their agreement. After this process, the parties usually have resolved their dispute in a way that meets their needs. And they are also better equipped to work through future conflicts on their own.

      Mediation is not for everyone or every case. Mediation may not be right for parties who have a shared history of physical or sexual abuse. Also, where one of the parties has a severe personality disorder, such disorder may overly complicate their ability to work through a difficult, yet mutually respectful process. Furthermore, a party immersed in substance abuse or lawfully, but heavily, medicated may not possess the wherewithal necessary to do the hard work of creating lasting agreements. Address your questions about whether mediation is right for you and your case with the Shoemaker Law Firm.


      Q: What is Mediation and what makes it a “better” way to divorce?

      A: Mediated Divorces can lessen the conflict of a divorcing couple and reduce the costs substantially as compared to most litigated divorces and often produces better results that benefit the divorcing family than in litigated divorces.

      As your divorce mediator, Brian Shoemaker will meet with the couple to work to address the issues of property division, custody and timeshare, spousal and child support, among others.  Depending on the couple, the meetings occur in private, at Brian’s office, in a mutually respectful manner.  The pace of the divorce is sensitive to the unique needs of each family.  The process is tailored to the specific issues of the family.

      Q: How do you choose a mediator who is trained, experience, and the right fit for you?

      A:  Meet with Brian and he will walk you through the major and minor aspects of your divorce, and discuss the qualities of the mediator that are right for your case.

      It has become trendy for lawyers to call themselves “mediators” when they have either not been trained nor have meaningful experience in the process and or both. A Mediation is a voluntary way to divorce.  It takes awareness and skills to help a couple work past their conflict towards meaningful resolution.  In mediation, there is no judge to make the final decision.  It takes a trained and skilled profession to keep couples focused on wise decisions and who can keep the drama and conflict to a minimum.

      For more information on Brian’s mediation experience and practice click here.

      All mediation appointments are scheduled at a different hourly rate than the initial consultation fee.