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INSIGHT INTO divorce mediation
Mediation is a dispute resolution technique designed to help divorcing couples who are unable to reach a mutually acceptable agreement regarding issues such as asset division, spousal support and child custody. Paul Benson III is highly experienced at serving as a financial expert in both early-stage and late-stage mediation.
Early-stage mediation occurs before couples have filed for divorce and want to get ahead of issues like asset division so they can then feel comfortable about agreeing on a settlement. The goal is to keep things low-conflict. Paul’s contributions are from an education standpoint, teaching one or both parties and their legal counsel about the finances and the implications of dividing certain assets, how they change ownership, and the near- and long-term tax ramifications.
Late-stage mediation is very different. Paul is brought in at the last moment, often by the divorce attorney, to help the attorney best negotiate for assets, tax benefits, and other areas of their client’s finances as to ensure the best possible settlement is achieved. Paul will be using his own calculations about marginal and effective tax rates to ascertain asset values. He will look at the entire financial picture and make a determination as to what the path of least resistance is for the client he represents.
How does collaborative divorce differ from mediation?
Collaborative divorce is a newer style of divorce mediation in which the couple selects one neutral attorney or mediator, along with neutral financial experts, to help educate on various issues while allowing the couple to make many of their own decisions.
Collaborative divorce is naturally geared toward early-stage mediation, in which the couple prioritizes free-flow of communication as to ensure the settlement they arrive at is mutually beneficial for their family. In this arrangement, Paul Benson III cannot opine or recommend to one party what they should do, but rather frames the discussions around pros and cons of the couple’s decision-making on asset division.