Divorce Mediation and Shortening the Process

Divorce Mediation or Separation Mediation can be a longer process if you have a lot of possessions to divide or have a lot of children, especially with a large age range. It helps you a great deal if you can figure a few things out before you come in to see me. It is fastest to write down anything you have decided and hand the paper to me when you meet me the first time (I have a free consultation). That way, I can look it over quickly and tell you the pros and cons of your proposed Divorce Mediation settlement.

I can tell you whether a judge is likely to accept your proposals. The easier it is for a judge to accept a proposal means the faster your divorce. I can also tell you what are the problems and pitfalls of doing things the way you propose. For example, if you have a baby and plan on exchanging parenting time month by month, that is probably not going to be approved by the judge nor is it healthy for the baby. Babies need time with each parent every day or every other day to bond properly. Don’t laugh too much at this example- it is an actual case I had of two folks who lived 500 miles apart!

If it is not possible for you to meet and discuss face-to-face without a mediator, you can come up with a written list of things you want in a settlement. that way, when we meet we can talk about how well your ideas will work for the court, your children, and each other. Often it’s a combination of several proposals that work the best. Divorce mediation is straightforward at times, and more difficult at other times. My aim at Bickford Mediation is to make Divorce Mediation as easy and rewarding as possible.

Divorce Mediation 2019

This is my first blog post of 2019, so I wish you a happy new year.

Snow is on the ground, it’s cold and there is only a little more light than there was in December. For most people that means hunkering down, doing only what you have to do to get through the winter. For people who are contemplating divorce this is especially true. Most people simply put up with a bad marriage until spring, when they have more energy and it’s easier to move.

I encourage you to be different. Divorce can happen any time of year. This time of year it may be easier, because so few others are getting divorced. That means you can take your time, get things right and use the winter down time to recover from your divorce.

It’s counter-intuitive, I know. but think forward. In the spring, when you really feel like starting afresh, you can, instead of having 3 months of divorce proceedings hanging over your spring and summer. You will have the time to enjoy the warm weather, and work on those plans for the future.

You can’t garden in the winter, but you can plan, and planning makes all the difference. With divoce, you can do more than plan; you can start and finish your divorce now, so that the beauty of the spring can speak to your soul. You can plan now, so that the spring, divorce free, can be free of the pain and struggles you have dealt with in 2018. Seize the day, and be gentle with yourself and your kids. Divorce mediation instead of court is a big help at a tough time.

Heading for a Christmas Divorce? Try Divorce Mediation

Divorce is heart-breaking at any time of year, but especially at Christmas, that most family-oriented of holidays (the same can be said of Hanukkah). What other holiday celebrates the chance to give presents to everyone, and have special holiday meals and parties. Cookies, fudge, popcorn balls and ethnic delights abound. Families have traditions for Christmas that may go back a century or more.

Into the midst of this family celebration comes divorce. At its worst, divorce rears its ugly head and proclaims that all ideas of family are null and void. Family gathering are not only not joyful, but rather intensely painful, as you realize what you’ve lost, and perhaps haven’t had for years.

Is there such a thing as a “family-oriented” divorce? Divorce seems to be the opposite of family oriented, and yet if the essence of family is providing a safe and healthy atmosphere for children, then in some circumstances divorce is the best option for children’s health and safety.

If divorce is sometimes needed, then how best to divorce? Here Divorce Mediation is the best option. Parents figure out together what is best for the children, and not judges (who may be sympathetic but who don’t know your kids). Parents model for kids that even when grown-ups disagree, it doesn’t have to turn into an all-out war. Divorce mediation can teach your children an important lesson as well as preserving a working relationship for successful co-parenting.

Divorce mediation works. You decide what is best, and what works the best for the kids. You start out a divorce with cooperation, not confrontation. Divorce mediation means you know exactly what the divorce agreement means, because you wrote them. Everyone knows what to expect so there are fewer arguments.

Divorce mediation makes the best out of divorce. Parents and children can recover more quickly, and with much, much less emotional damage and baggage. If you must divorce, then divorce mediation is “win-win!”

Summer is Here And So Is Mediation for Kids’ School Schedules. try Divorce Mediation

When is the best time to mediate out divorced kids’ fall schedule? Summer, of course. Both parents are more relaxed and that makes working out differences much easier. Plus, you have a few months for divorce mediation before you need the schedule to kick in.

I have been helping parents work out custody schedules for many years. Divorce and divorce mediation are much easier with a seasoned professional like me. I know what works for most people and what doesn’t (hint: don’t exchange babies once a month as one couple I helped did). I also can help smooth out communication problems so the two of you can co-parent successfully. If you can’t work out your differences, your kids suffer, and You suffer, too. Not only do you want the best for your kids after a divorce, but kid problems mean even more time together having to work out what is best.

If you don’t want to see your ex on a regular basis, get a professional to help you work things out the right way, first. That way, even though you are divorced you can co-parent successfully. And when you do meet your ex, you can congratulate each other on how well your kids are turning out rather than trying to blame your kids’ problems on the other parent in a shouting match. Divorce mediation (without attorneys, if you can) is the way to go. Not only is it better for you and better for your kids, it’s also cheaper than paying $3000 retainers for each of you. Divorce mediation is simple, and, most often, faster than two attorneys duking it out in court.

When you use me you me for divorce mediation you get to decide what is best for your kids, not a judge who doesn’t know then. Divorce mediation is the way to go.

Spring is Here. Time For a Fresh Start. Divorce Mediation Can Help!

Hello Again!

This is the time of year many people decide to move on after a hard winter, including an April blizzard! If you’re thinking about divorce, or separating from your significant other, divorce mediation or separation mediation can help.

You can mediate with attorneys, but mediation without attorneys is much cheaper. Here’s how it goes:

Meet with me for a free consultation
Sign an agreement to mediate with me.
Solve your problems
Move on.

Now things are not quite that simple, but I can help you if you have worked most of your separation out, or if you haven’t a clue how to start. I can help you with techniques for separating money, possessions, and how to work out schedules for children and even pets. I know what works and what doesn’t work.

If you can’t even talk without arguing, I can help you establish ground rules, meet in separate rooms temporarily and in difficult cases I can shuttle back and forth; you can even meet at different times.

I am available to meet with you at a location near where you are, and I generally meet in easier 1-2 hour sessions, not marathon “do-it-or die” sessions. You get a chance to review what you decided before you agree to anything. I will make certain you understand what you agreed to, and how it may affect you and your relationship with you ex and with the kids if you have any.

I am here to serve. Make things easier on yourself and your kids! Call me! 612 670-7980 or


Co-Parenting During the Holidays (mediation can help)

The holidays are coming, and they present a unique challenge for couples who are divorced and separated. The patterns that were established when you were together are still there, and now whose house to go to has even more challenges. That’s why mediation can help. Divorce mediation or post-divorce mediation can make things a lot easier. I have worked with hundreds of couples, so I have a few ideas about child custody that you may not have thought of:

How important is celebrating on the exact day of the holiday?

If you celebrate before or after, it is easier to schedule family time, easier to get food and presents at stores or online because you’re not fighting other people trying to do the same thing. You can breeze through stores in nothing flat. Your young children will not even know when the holiday is. Older kids will generally not care, especially if the holiday is celebrated earlier. They may even get more presents and special meals that way.

How important is it to have ALL the family together?

Celebrating in smaller groups can be less hectic, and enable your loved ones to spend more time with their family one-on-one. games are possible in groups of 4-6 that may not be possible with larger groups. You may even be able to avoid difficult Uncle Ernie the drunk or Great Aunt Susie the cheek-pincher. It is often less expensive, and perhaps more meaningful.

What is the most important holiday for you and your children?

You can often trade holidays that are important to an ex who wants them (Christmas for 4th of July) so you both win.

With these and many other questions I can ask, you can make co- parenting work, even during the holidays. Schedule a free appointment and you’ll see what I mean.


Divorce and Summer Schedules.


I want to talk to you today about divorce, separation, mediation and summer schedules.

The first thing to know is that according to Minnesota law (and I would guess most states), in a divorce the most important concern is the children (if you have any together). That means that if something is helpful for the kids and inconvenient for you, the kids come first. For example, at a young age, it is better for kids to see their father or mother more often for less time than less often for more time. This may seem intuitive, and yet I had a case where the parents were exchanging a baby every other month, and drove 500 miles.That’s crazy. for babies several times a week are most helpful for good bonding with each parent

I urge you to work out a schedule that works for the children as much as possible. Do what you can, even if it means the driving division is not even. Maybe one parent is unwilling or unable to transport the children to an activity. Best for the child to simply do the transportation and understand that you are helping the children move forward and heal. Isn’t such healing worth a little of your time? Yes, it can get annoying when one parent can’t or won’t step up to responsibility and yet you are still helping your kids at a difficult time for them. get help from me to work out visitation schedules and parenting time if you can’t do it yourselves.

Having said that, summer is a usually time of less stress for kids: less (or no) school, less homework, fewer activities etc. So kids can tolerate irregular or late schedules better. Summer is often the best time for longer vacations or for one parent who had less time during the school year to “catch up.” make up your summer schedules carefully and wisely and your kids will thank you for it, and reward you with happy stress-free memories and solid growth.

Happy Parenting!

Minnesota Qualified Neutral

Divorce Season

Mediation with families has its own season. Since few families want to move in the dead of winter, most parents put up with conflict until the weather gets nicer. Then they move out and file for divorce. Summer, then, is a time when families try to figure out schedules for school age children and continues busy for mediators with August and the first few weeks of September at a feverish pace working with procrastinators. Thanksgiving and Christmas are usually calm as couples and families try to tough it through family gatherings and then it’s back to too cold to move.

There are exceptions to this pattern, of course. But by and large most families roughly follow the seasons of the year in this fashion, at least in Minnesota where I practice.