ALTERNATIVE GROUP DIVORCE AND FAMILY MEDIATION
Each year over 320,000 Californians get divorced. For most it's a nightmare, an adversarial situation where couples who once loved one another become bitter enemies. Costs in time, energy, money, an emotional distress seem overwhelming. There are usually no winners and children may be hurt the most
At Alternative Group we recognize that divorce happens and that some marriages will not be repaired. We believe couples should have an alternative to costly and destructive court battles.
Would you like to avoid:
--the mental wear and tear of a divorce battle?
-- the public exposure of court appearances?
-- the frustration of living with unsolved problems?
Would you like:
-- resolution of issues at your own pace?
-- help and guidance utilizing a non-adversarial approach?
-- a parenting plan that makes sense for all parties?
-- low-cost services, at a fraction of the cost of litigation?
-- a psychological sense of closure so that emotional healing can take place?
What is divorce mediation?
Mediation is an alternative to litigation and courtroom battles, and a process which can be used to resolve disputes and reduce the emotional turmoil and destructiveness of a divorce. Divorce mediation empowers people to negotiate their own divorce outside of the legal system and in a non--adversarial way. In mediation of team of professionals helps you to negotiate the settlement that you can live with. The mediators do not make the decisions -- you do.
What is family mediation?
Other family disputes may lead to litigation and courtroom battles. Often these disputes involve modification of aspects of the divorce decree such as modification of the parenting plan. Other disputes may arise between family members who are involved in a family business together. Whatever the nature of the dispute, mediation is often cost-effective and a way of minimizing damage while strengthening working relationships and positive communication.
Why not use of the traditional method?
Within the traditional legal system couples experience great frustration that adds to the anger in pain already present in the marrital dissolution. Children in divorcing families are often impacted the most. The average California couple spends $i8,000 each on their divorce, yet they experience little power over the process. The dissolution of marriage, one of the most important events in their lives, takes place largely outside of their control.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediation helps you resolve issues and make mutual informed decisions. Issues such says responsibility for children, property division, and spousal and child support are discussed and carefully considered before you decide what will work best for you. After agreements are reached the mediators prepare a Memorandum Of Understanding ( MOU ), with the final and official paperwork, The Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA ) , prepared by attorneys who specialize in divorce. You assign the final agreement only when you're satisfied that is fair to all involved. Usually no court appearances are necessary.
Specific benefits are:
-- savings in time and money.
-- control over the pace of the process.
-- more control over outcome.
-- legally binding agreements.
-- better planning for children's well-being.
-- privacy and confidentiality.
-- less time or no time in court.
-- a psychological sense of closure.
-- the emotional healing growing out of movement from conflict to resolution.
The fee for each mediation session utilizing the full mediation team of a Bill and Robin Shearer is $200.00 per hour, payable at the end of each section. Once all agreements are reached there is a flat fee of $1,500 which includes:
-- the first draft of the Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU ).
-- one revised draft of the MOU converted into a Marital Settlement Agreement by attorneys who are divorce specialists.
-- a one-hour MOU review session and a session for signing of the MSA and other court documents.
-- all consultations between the mediators.
--All typing, word processing, mailing and photocopying costs.
Why use a mediation team?
At Alternative Group we have found that team mediation is most effective and efficient for our clients. It is been particularly helpful to have male and female co-mediators. The result is a greater sense of safety and comfort within the mediation sessions and greater progressed throughout.
Although we are experienced in psychotherapy we do not act as your counselors. Instead we are co-mediators who provide professional conflict resolution and negotiation expertise while maintaining an atmosphere of impartiality, fairness, and mutual respect throughout the mediation.
The mediation team will guide you step-by-step in a cooperative problem solving process which includes:
-- clarification of issues including the initial positions and underlying concerns.
-- improvement in each party's understanding of the other's position.
-- reduction or elimination of hostile attitudes.
-- reduction of broad complex issues to more clearly defined and manageable parts.
-- development of common goals such as safeguarding the well-being of the children.
-- guidance in developing cooperative problem-solving skills, and in choosing and implementing agreements.
The mediation team
William C. Shearer Ph.D., M.B.A., M.P.H.
The director of Alternative Group has been a local psychotherapist since 1975. Licensed as both a psychologist and marriage family and child therapist, Dr. Shearer specializes in anxiety, stress, and relationship difficulties. He is experienced in teaching couple communication skills and couple conflict resolution. He has doctorates in Psychology and Health Services Administration as well as masters degrees in Education, Business Administration, and a Master Public-health degree from Loma Linda University. He is a member of the Academy of Family Mediators and the Southern California Mediation Association. He Has a Certificate and Conflict Management from the University of California and over a hundred hours of continuing education relating to mediation. He has been an instructor for several colleges and universities and has conducted numerous workshops on relationships. Dr. Shearer is a certified Imago Relationship Therapist. He has done divorce mediation since 1987.
Robin L. Shearer M.A., M.P.H., R.N.
co-mediator Robin Shearer has a bachelor of science degree in nursing and a Master of Public-health degree from Loma linda University. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Counseling from Chapman University. Since 1974, Robin has worked with adolescent and family issues, multi-problem families, victims of abuse, and marital issues. The she participates in assessment and treatment planning and does individual and group therapy. Robin teaches couple communication skills and has been trained in Imago Relationship Therapy she works extensively with healing relationship woes, divorce recovery and couple conflict resolution. Her particular interest is promoting healthy parenting and helping conflicted couples workout parenting plan and safeguards of their children wore promoting child health and well-being. She has been an instructor of a local college and frequently involved in public presentations and seminars.
"The entire legal profession, lawyers, judges, law school teachers, has become so mesmerized with the stimulation of the courtroom contest that we tend to forget that we should be healers of conflict. For some disputes, trials will be the only means, but for many claims B are system is too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for a truly civilized people. To rely on the adversarial process as a principal means of resolving conflicting claims is a mistake that must be corrected".
Chief Justice Berge
© 2005 William Carey Shearer Ph.D., M.B.A., M.P.H