Category: Blog

Loyalties are always tested in divorce. The process is difficult on adults and families. Loyalties are greatly tested on the couple’s sons and daughters. Children of all ages, but especially those who are minors or still living at home, can be traumatized by divorce. They often are burdened by feeling of sadness, guilt, anger, and confusion. Besides that, children can be acting out and feeling anxiety when their parents are going through the divorce process. It is important to learn and understand how children of different ages and sexes cope with divorce. This will help you understand how to approach the topic of divorce with your child and help the divorce process go smoother.

In this issue, I’ll talk about how a PeacefulSplit® Divorce mediation helps to minimize the risk of your children having divided loyalties.

How divided loyalties affect children of different ages?

Younger Children:

Infants do not have the cognitive ability to understand or comprehend divorce and its emotions. Children whose parents divorced when they were infants have no memory of the divorce and generally grow up having no memories of their parents ever being together.

Toddlers (ages 2-5) have limited cognitive ability to understand divorce or their own emotions. They will miss the parent that used to live at home. It is nearly impossible to explain divorce to a toddler. They are not able to cope with their love of each parent and the fact that they are no longer living together.

Older Children:

School-age children (ages 6-12) often take divorce the hardest. Although they understand the concept of divorce, their active imaginations hold onto the belief that their parents may someday get back together. At these ages, children are egocentric and tend to believe that the divorce is somehow their fault. They often conjure-up ways to reconcile their parent’s relationship. Children at this age go through a grieving process during divorce and may often feel anger, aggression, sadness, and hostility towards one parent or the other. Withdraw from social and academic activities is common.

divided loyalties negatively impacts children
Children do not divorce their parents…Why should they have to choose between them?

Teenagers (ages 13-19) have a much more developed understanding of divorce. They have likely witnessed other family members or friends’ parents go through divorce. They understand the concepts and general repercussions of infidelity, mistrust, and betrayal. This can lead teenagers to place the blame of the divorce on one parent. They will often feel compelled to choose sides in the divorce. Their loyalties are divided between both parents. Therefore, this time-period leads some teens to become rebellious and be more susceptible to experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Some teens feel that if they work extremely hard in school and get amazing grades and are very compliant, perhaps their parents will reconcile.

Always be mindful how your child’s age affects their understanding of divorce.


Does divorce affect boys and girls differently?

Studies have shown that boys and girls react differently to their parents’ divorce. Both sexes experience negative impacts from divorce, including coping with where their loyalties remain: mom or dad. More importantly, parents going through divorce – and especially post-divorce – should work hard and collaboratively to ensure that their sons and daughters never have to choose sides.

Parents of boys impacted by pre- or post-divorce issues may find it easier to notice the impact. This is because boys tend to act-out behaviorally and expressively. Conversely, girls may internalize their emotions and while very much impacted, may not clearly show it externally.

Hetherington & Kelly (2002) found that boys tended to get less emotional support than girls from their parents during and after divorce. This failure to address boys’ needs negatively impacts their ability to cope in healthy ways about their parents’ divorce.

Girls learn that expressing emotions is a positive characteristic and behavior. Boys tend to believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness. They learn to “man-up” or “just keep it inside”.  This restriction often has negative effects on children as they grow into adults. There are many methods you can take to help your children understand their feelings during the divorce process, regardless if they are boys or girls.

Always be mindful to encourage your child’s free expression of their feelings and emotions.


Here at PeacefulSplit® Mediation, our sole mission is guide, comfort, and assist you and your spouse or partner so that you can obtain a peaceful divorce. Most importantly, we never judge you based upon your values, beliefs, culture, ethnicity, race, gender or sexual orientation.

If you and your spouse are ready for a PeacefulSplit® Mediation, or are just contemplating divorce, I am here to help by answering all of your questions and explaining to the both of you the benefits of a PeacefulSplit® Mediation.  Both parties are sometimes on the same page. Other times there are big difference. I am available to help you under either scenario.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “PeacefulSplit® Mediation” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you.  Call me at 954-272-8292.

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Divorcing is hard on everyone involved, but it is most difficult on your child. When spouses divorce and minor children are part of the marriage, it is very important for the focus to always remain on what is in that their best interest. Parents who focus on what is best for them, what they want, or getting revenge/being spiteful, rather than the best interest of the children, can traumatize their kids even more in divorce.

In divorce mediation, spouses need to resolve which parent the children will live with primarily and how often they will visit the other parent. When one parent moves out of the home, leaving their kids behind can be very difficult. The parent may want the children to live with them because they will miss them and can’t bear being separated. Unfortunately, when a marriage is over there is no way that both parents can see their children 100% of the time anymore. Although it will be hard to discuss, there are a few ways to make sure you are keeping your child’s best interest in mind when going through mediation.

In this issue, I’ll talk about how to keep the keep the focus on the children’s’ best interests during divorce mediation.

Ask yourself why you truly want something?

When thinking about dividing up assets, property, money, and time-sharing with your children, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting more than your spouse. I also suggest that each parent always ask them self: “why do I truly want what I want?” If the reason is primarily so that your spouse can’t have “it,” then you are not focusing on your child’s best interests. If he reason is mainly so that your child will want to be with you more than his/her other parent, then you are not focusing on your child’s best interests.

Always be mindful if what you are seeking is truly what’s best for your child – not you.


Ask yourself if your child is really benefiting?

When deciding on your Parenting Plan and making decisions about where your child will live, what school they will go to, when they will be visiting the other parent, ask yourself if your son/daughter will truly benefit? Often times when I work with couples, decision-making focuses on what the parent wants or needs. It’s easy to divorcing parents to get so caught up emotionally in their divorce that they tend to make decisions without really thinking about the child. In every decision concerning a minor child, the parents should be every decision on what’s in the best interests of the child. For example, will it benefit your child if the parent that the child will live with does not have a car? Lives in a one-bedroom apartment? Ask yourself if the child is benefiting from the school or medical choices being made?

Always be mindful that the child’s needs are paramount – not the parents.


Ask yourself if your child is hearing kind words about the other parent.

Mindfulness is essential to communication. Always keep your child in the back of your thoughts when communicating with your spouse. When speaking to your spouse, speak to them the way you would if your child was present. You should always be respectful, even when you are emotional.

Divorce decision must focus on the child.
A PEACEFULSPLIT™ Divorce mediation is focused on the well-being of the minor child.

Mindfulness with also help you to stay level headed, have good focus, and remain calm.

Always be mindful that the child loves both parents.


Ask yourself if you are being open to negotiation.

You and your spouse once made a talented team. You need to be open to negotiating and making decisions about your child’s future together. Many couples benefit from family counseling after or during a divorce. Realizing you will need to compromise is the first step to negotiating.

Always be mindful that the goal is not revenge or pain – but peace for your child and family. 


Ask yourself if you are listing to your son’s/daughter’s needs and desires.

If your son or daughter is old enough to express their desire, take that into consideration. Young children do not always know what is best for them. As they get older, they know what they want and will tell you. Take their wants and needs into consideration when you are making decisions that will be permanent.

Always be mindful that your children have needs and wants and feelings. 


Here at PeacefulSplit® Mediation, our sole mission is to guide, comfort, and assist you and your spouse or partner so that you can obtain a peaceful divorce. Most importantly, we never judge you based upon your values, beliefs, culture or sexual orientation.

If you and your spouse are ready for a PeacefulSplit® Mediation, or are just contemplating divorce, I am here to help by answering all of your questions and explaining to the both of you the benefits of a PeacefulSplit® Mediation.  Sometimes both parties are on the same page, and often they are not. I am available to help you under either scenario.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “PeacefulSplit® Mediation” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you.  I can be reached at 954-272-8292.

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You have likely heard myth after myth about divorce. Is your image about divorce from the movie “War of the Roses?” There’s often a wide gulf between the way divorce and mediation works in real life and how it’s portrayed by Hollywood. What you see on the screen or hear from friends and family is often a far cry from the real thing.

As a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, I’ve heard many of the common myths people have about the divorce mediation process. The truth is that can have a transformative difference in the lives of people.

In this issue, I’ll talk about reality and common myths of divorce mediation in Florida.

MYTH #1: We argue so much, mediation is a waste of time.

While many couples on the brink of divorce are combative, the goal of divorce mediation is to prevent the process from becoming an all-out war. As your Mediator, I’ll make sure the conversations remain productive and on-track. There is no taking of sides or picking winners and losers. Instead, our time together will be focused on mutually-agreed upon problem solving – not who can shout the loudest. I have worked with many high-conflict couples, and regardless of levels of conflict, divorce mediation will work if you both have a shared goal to end the divorce peacefully.

FACT #1: Arguing in Marriage Does Not Prevent A Peaceful Divorce


MYTH #2: We’ll just be pressured to reconcile.

As your Mediator, my role is not to reunite the two of you. Rather, I’m committed to help you both end your marriage without any further anger or misery. The decision to end a marriage is often a sad and unsettling time, but there’s hardly any benefit to “fighting to the bitter end.” I don’t pressure either spouse to settle for anything that they don’t agree to. Divorce mediation is designed so that no decision are made without both spouses saying “yes.” If you or your spouse says no to any issue, then we keep on negotiating. In mediation, you each have full power and control to say “yes” or to say “no” anytime.

FACT #2: Mediation Is Not About Pressuring Either Spouse to Agree.


MYTH #3: The courtroom is the best place to make decisions about my kids.

If you have plans for garnering sympathy from the family court in exchange for full custody or a divorce financial ruling that soaks your soon-to-be former spouse, you should know that your feelings do not come into play in the courtroom. The courts simply don’t care about how you feel. Keep in mind that the divorce process is not geared to punish one spouse over another for behaving poorly. Rather, the goal of the court is to merely dissolve the marriage – nothing more.

When divorce involves minor children, the emotions and stakes are even higher for both parents. The ultimate choice each parent must make is who do they want to decide issues about time-sharing, decision-making and overall care of their minor children: the Judge or themselves. In Mediation, both parents will make decisions about the best interests of their children. Although the court will ultimately review any parenting plan you agree to to ensure the child’s interests are protected, you are not leaving all the choices and decisions up to the Judge.

Mediation allows parents to decide about their children
One myth about divorce is that the Courts must decide all issues about minor children. The truth is that parents can make the decisions and the court will just review it to make sure its not against the child’s best interests

So far, I’ve never met anyone who has told me that they were happy to let the court decide issues about how to raise their children.

FACT #3: Parents Know Their Children Best And What Will Work For Them.


MYTH #4: Divorce mediation is too expensive.

Many divorce lawyers charge several hundred of dollars per hour to handle your case. They will almost always require a large up-front retainer too. That can easily run your final bill to thousands and thousands of dollars – and ever higher if your spouse decides to fight the divorce. In a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation, however, I charge a low flat-rate that will not leaving you guessing about the final cost of your divorce. I am committed to helping you both to resolve your issues as quickly as possible.

FACT #4: Mediation is Less Expensive Then Both Spouses Hiring Lawyers in a Contested Divorce.


Here at PeacefulSplit™ Mediation, our sole mission is guide, comfort, and assist you and your spouse or partner so that you can obtain a peaceful divorce. Most importantly, we never judge you based upon your values, beliefs, culture or sexual orientation.

If you and your spouse are ready for a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation, or are just contemplating divorce, I am here to help by answering all of your questions and explaining to the both of you the benefits of a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation.  Sometimes both parties are on the same page, and often they are not. I am available to help you under either scenario.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “PeacefulSplit™ Mediation” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you.  I can be reached at 954-272-8292.

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When considering divorce, you will likely feel overwhelmed, exhausted and confused. Thinking about alimony, money, property, debts, custody, visitation and your family’s well-being can feel like crushing weights on your shoulders. Now, if that wasn’t enough, you also need to think about the consequences that the new tax law may have on your divorce and financial future.

Recent taxation modifications made at the Federal level are causing a bit of head scratching because of the major changes in the handling of alimony payments.

Does this mean that you may want to delay or speed up your divorce plans? We’ll talk about it in this issue.

What is Alimony?

Under Florida law, alimony is legally required financial support made by someone to his or her former spouse for either a specific amount of time or permanent. Courts will consider a host of factors to determine the amount to be paid,  including the:

  • length of the marriage;
  • financial resources of both parties;
  • standard of living established during the marriage;
  • earning potential of both parties; and
  • age of and health condition of both parties.

One question I am almost always asked by couples is how can we figure out the proper amount of Alimony? I wish there was a formula like the one used to calculate child-support because that would make the process so much simpler. However, since that does not exist, I work with couples to balance the factors above (and the other ones listed in Florida law) to help couples figure out an amount and time-frame that is fair and equitable to both the paying-spouse and the recipient.

The topic of Alimony almost always causes a strong eruption in emotions during mediation as the spouse paying invariably feels that they are paying too much, and the spouse receiving usually feels they did not receive enough. As your Mediator, I work hands-on with both spouses to find a middle-ground that works for both spouses.

How will Alimony change with the new tax law?

Before the new tax legislation passed, the person responsible for paying the alimony was generally entitled to count it as a tax deduction on their personal tax return. Likewise, the spouse receiving the alimony was generally required to report it as taxable income. For both parties, this reciprocal handling of taxation for the alimony payment made sense and seemed fair.

Under the new law, however, the person paying will no longer be able to claim it as a deduction. Likewise, the payments will be tax-free to the person receiving the payment. Now when I work with couples, there is an added strain on the negotiations because of this new taxation rule.

The new tax laws will affect divorces finalized as of Jan. 1, 2019. The previous tax law will still govern divorces finalized on or before Dec. 31, 2018. As a result, many experts are expecting a rush of divorces in late 2018. In fact, many of the couples contacting me and choosing the route of a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation because they want to take advantage of the current tax law.

The taxation of alimony payments is changing
Alimony is a hot-button issue in divorce. The new tax law made it even more challenging.

Will the new law affect my divorce?

For the party required to pay alimony, the divorce just became much more expensive. In addition to paying a specified amount, he or she will also have to pay its associated income taxes. For this reason alone, it’s likely that alimony will become an even bigger challenge for couples to agree about. For the paying-spouse, the true cost of alimony will be more expensive, and for the recipient-spouse, the true value of the payment will be more valuable.

The new taxation law recently passed. So far, Florida has not adjusted the way alimony impacts the calculation of child support. Currently, it is still counted as income to the recipient-parent as as an expense to the paying-parent.

Here at PeacefulSplit™ Mediation, our sole mission is guide, comfort, and assist you and your spouse or partner so that you can obtain a peaceful divorce. Most importantly, we never judge you based upon your values, beliefs, culture or sexual orientation.

If you and your spouse are ready for aPeacefulSplit™ Mediation, or are just contemplating divorce, I am here to help by answering all of your questions and explaining to the both of you the benefits of aPeacefulSplit™ Mediation.  Sometimes both parties are on the same page, and often they are not. I am available to help you under either scenario.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “PeacefulSplit™ Mediation” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you.  I can be reached at 954-272-8292.

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Many same-sex couples were ecstatic in 2015 when it became legal to marry in Florida. Just a few days after that historic day, the Tampa Bay Timespublished an article that chronicled the experiences of a woman who was jubilant for a completely different reason: Florida would also have to allow same-sex couples to divorce.

“It was a very liberating moment,” the woman told the newspaper. “All of the angst, frustration and anxiety that was just under the surface was finally released.”

In this issue, we’ll talk more about same-sex divorce in Florida.

How many same-sex couples are in Florida??

Census information from the Williams Institute tells us there are nearly 50,000 same-sex couples in Florida, the third highest rate in the U.S. behind New York and California. While 51% of such couples in the United States are female, women make up approximately 64% of gay marriages in the U.S.

Are same-sex couples more likely than straight couples to divorce?

Current research and data reveals the exact opposite. A study published by the Williams Institute reveals that same-sex couples divorce at a slightly lower rate than their heterosexual peers. The research confirmed that, on average, same-sex couples divorce at a rate of about 1.1% — compared to the 2% annual divorce rate between heterosexual couples.

same-sex couples and divorce mediation
Same-sex couples divorce at lower rates than heterosexual couples, but can also benefit from a PeacefulSplit divorce mediation

How is same-sex divorce different in Florida?

Many issues common with heterosexual couple divorces are found in same-sex separations. For example, division of assets and property, alimony, child support, parental responsibility, etc.

Just as with heterosexual divorces, there are two types of same-sex divorces: settled and contested.

As a licensed attorney for over 23 years and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator, I firmly believe that  divorce mediation can be a big help in assisting both same-sex and heterosexual couples obtain a peaceful and amicable settled divorce marked by open communication and agreement.

A big challenge for same-sex couples facing divorce, however, revolves around any children they have together. If both partners adopted a child during their marriage, they will both enjoy the same parental rights as heterosexual partners. This includes custody and child support arrangements based upon “the best interests of the child.” This is the same standard applicable to heterosexual divorces.

If a sperm donor or surrogate was used to have children, the Court will generally not view one of the partners as a biological parent. This is especially true if that partner did not choose to adopt the child.

If you’re considering same-sex divorce in Florida, call Peaceful Split Mediation:

For all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, divorce can be incredibly complex matter. Emotions and anxiety quickly create environments that cause costly mistakes. Divorce mediation, however, creates an environment of calm and ease. It is in this mindset that you will be able to collaboratively resolve your differences to achieve your individual and collective interests.

Just as with an opposite-sex divorce, if you are in a gay marriage in Florida and do not have a divorce agreement in place before you go to court, you will be most likely be required by the court to take part in divorce mediation.

Here at PeacefulSplit™ Florida Divorce Mediation, our sole mission is guide, comfort, and assist you and your spouse or partner so that you can obtain a peaceful divorce. Most importantly, we never judge you based upon your values, beliefs, culture or sexual orientation.

If you and your spouse are ready for a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation, or are just contemplating divorce, I am here to help by answering all of your questions and explaining to the both of you the benefits of a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “PeacefulSplit™ Mediation” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you.  I can be reached at 954-272-8292.

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Men and women are equally likely to end a non-marital relationship. A recent study confirms that it is women who are more likely to initiate divorce proceedings. However, as both former partners begin their post-divorce lives, who has the tougher time?

We’ll talk about in this issue.

Why women start most divorces?

According to the study, which was published in Science Daily and researched by the American Sociological Association, a big reason for women beginning the divorce process is a desire for the flexibility available in non-marital relationships.

A key finding in that study was dissatisfaction with a perceived loss of independence, coupled with husbands who tend to be controlling.

A different study from the AARP (the American Association of Retired Persons) also found that women tend to initiate the divorce process – but for different reasons. The study found that women “were more in tune with the danger signs of a problem marriage.” The study also found that men were more likely to be completely caught off guard by the suggestion of a split.

Who fares better after a marriages end?

With evidence showing that women initiate more divorces, there’s research suggesting that women – as compared to men – also enjoy happier and healthier lifestyles thereafter.

A research project into the post-divorce health habits of men and women found that its men who are more likely to experience negative physical and mental health effects following a separation.

Among the suspected causes of such findings is the absence of a positive healthy influence many wives have upon their husbands. When that influence is no longer around, many men are prone to develop unhealthy habits, including use of tobacco and alcohol.

An NBC News report suggested that many men take longer to recover from the shock of divorce because they often do not realize how dependent they are upon their spouses or partners until they are served with divorce papers.

How does a PeacefulSplit™ Divorce Mediation level the playing field?

For starters, neither party has the upper hand during divorce mediation. Eric B. Epstein, Esq., a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediation, will take specific steps to eliminate any power imbalance – real or perceived – and both spouses will be empowered to stand up for themselves, their desires and their feelings.

For some, the outcome of mediation is not divorce, but reconciliation. For the vast majority, the outcome to a successful PeacefulSplit™ Florida Divorce Mediation is a hostile-free divorce that is healthier for the spouses as well the any children. The key to a successful mediation is working with an experienced mediator who will encourage creative settlement ideas and ensure that the parties negotiate in a non-threatening manner.

Divorce doesn't have to be ugly; It can be peaceful
A PeacefulSplit™ Divorce mediation is focused on the well-being of the spouses and any children.

Hardly anyone enters into a marriage thinking it will end. Life, however, presents us with different challenges every day that often lead us on a road we thought we’d never travel.

Even though divorce mediation in Florida is a generally required if you and your spouse do not already have a settlement agreement, the goal is to ensure that whatever differences both of you are having are resolved in a civil manner, and that the resulting agreement is in the best interest of both parties and any minor children.

In a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation,  I work with both spouses to keep the focus on the following:

  • the best interests of the minor children;
  • your divorce experience – and not anyone else’s;
  • developing and implementing their short-term and long-term goals; and
  • deciding about their needs and desires.

If you and your spouse are ready for a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation, or are just contemplating divorce, I am here to help and ready to have separate conversations with each of you, or, as is my preference, a conference-call during which I can explain to the both of you the benefits of a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation. Sometimes both parties are on the same page, and often they are not. I am available to help you under either scenario.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical PeacefulSplit™ Mediation or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you.  I can be reached at 954-272-8292.

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Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her former spouse, Coldplay front man Chris Martin, lit up social media outlets recently when they shared a family photo of themselves with their children. The former celebrity couple made headlines in 2014 when they announced they were “consciously uncoupling” after 10 years of marriage but would concentrate on co-parenting their two young children, ages 13 and 11.

Co-parenting is a term that has begun to weave its way into the fabric of society, and its emphasis on teamwork in the post-divorce raising of children is the big reason why.

In this issue, I will explain how divorce mediation helps set the stage for effective co-parenting.

What is co-parenting?

Simply put, co-parenting describes a joint parenting partnership between parents who are no longer romantically involved but share in the responsibility of raising their child. It emphasizes open communication, cooperation and flexibility among the parents.

How does divorce mediation lead to co-parenting?

As with co-parenting, the hallmarks of divorce mediation are establishing communication and a sense of understanding. From the outset of the mediation process, Eric, as mediator, works to establish a model of respectful communication between you and your soon-to-be former spouse or partner.

Do children really benefit from co-parenting and mediation?

In addition to helping parents find common ground on issues like child support, division of assets and debts, division of martial property, etc., the establishment of a respectfulrelationship among the parents is crucial to the mediation process – and especially the children.

effective co-parenting reduces children's anxiety in divorce
Children do not divorce their parents…Why should they have to choose between them?

When children are exposed to a verbally hostile relationship between parents, the results are often tragic and long-lasting. Recent studies confirm that children whose parents were not on speaking terms are at a higher risk of experiencing poorer health throughout their lives. Additionally, they are at risk of:

When children are exposed to a verbally hostile relationship between parents, the results are often tragic and long-lasting. Recent studies confirm that children whose parents were not on speaking terms are at a higher risk of experiencing poorer health throughout their lives. Additionally, they are at risk of:

  • developing destructive behaviors;

  • isolating themselves from their family and friends;

  • developing issues with substance abuse; and

  • having thoughts of suicide or of committing violence.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, other research points to the success of post-divorce co-parenting. Among the findings, children who have enjoyed the nurturing environment of a parental relationship grounded in respect were shown to:

  • enjoy more academic success;

  • have a better sense of self-esteem;

  • experience far less instances of behavioral problems; and

  • exhibit fewer occurrences of stress and anxiety.

How do I find the right divorce mediator in Florida?

Divorce mediation is almost always mandated in Florida when your divorce is contested. Beyond committing to making the mediation process work, the most important step you can take is selecting the right Florida divorce mediator.

When making your selection, be sure to interview them in person, and base your selection on a mediator who is:

  • committed to remaining a neutral third party;

  • experienced working with parties go through legal disputes;

  • someone with a calm demeanor and good with problem solving;

  • knowledgeable about financial matters;

  • posseses advanced training and education in the field of communications and emotions;

  • dedicated to making decisions in the best interest of your children; and

  • compassionate, rather than someone who is merely “going through the motions.

A blueprint for success in your post-divorce life is essential in taking your next step, and the communication platform provided by a PeacefulSplit™ Florida Divorce Mediation is often the foundation for positive and successful co-parenting after the divorce is final.

If you and your spouse are ready for a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation, or are just contemplating divorce, I am here to help and ready to have separate conversations with each of you, or, as is my preference, a conference-call during which I can explain to the both of you the benefits of a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation. Sometimes both parties are on the same page, and often they are not. I am available to help you under either scenario.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “PeacefulSplit™ Mediation” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you.  I can be reached at 954-272-8292.

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Emotions are always a part of the divorce process, regardless if you and your spouse choose to use lawyers, file without lawyers, are very friendly or angry, or choose mediation. That’s because at the heart of any divorce is two people who once were in-love and now find themselves at a crossroads in life. Couples often ask me: how can we do mediation if emotions are always present?”

My answer may surprise you. Emotions are vital to the success of any divorce mediation that I am involved with because emotions – while often viewed as something negative – are necessary to the success of any divorce mediation.

As I work with the couple, I always encourage each of them to express their emotions and feelings whenever they need to. Invariably, it is the couples who accept my advice and stop holding-in their feelings during mediation that have the most success. Feeling and expressing emotions, positive or negative, is certainly easier for some people than others (male or female).

What is most interesting is that I never know or can predict which exact topic that we discuss during our mediation sessions will trigger a flood of emotions. However, based upon experience, here are some examples of topics that often times causes an emotional reaction:

  • A parent comes to the realization that the time they will spend with their child is based upon a written schedule.
  • A spouse needs to decide which of them will take possession of a family heirloom.
  • A parent hears the other parent question their ability to care for their child.
  • The couple  have no choice but to sell the house they have lived and raised a family together or over 20 years.

Regardless of the moment or moments when the emotions surface, how they are handled by the mediator are key to how successful the process will be. As an attorney for over 23 years, I have helped numerous clients and couples resolve their disputes and divorces peacefully.

In addition to my training as an attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediation, I am expected to graduate in July 2018 with a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. By combining all of my education, training and experience, I am adept at listening to each person not so much for what they are saying verbally, but for what they are saying silently.

Emotions are inherently part of all of us. While some men and women may find it easier to express their feelings and emotions than others, may have more control over their emotions, or may sometimes feel like they are being held hostage by their emotions, in the end, divorce mediation is about customizing the process to make it work best for both spouses. When I facilitate a divorce mediation, they are never “cookie-cutter” but conducted to best accommodate the individual needs of each spouse and the couple as a whole.

If you and your spouse are ready for a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation, or are just contemplating divorce, I am here to help and ready to have separate conversations with each of you, or, as is my preference, a conference-call during which I can explain to the both of you the benefits of aPeacefulSplit™ Mediation. Sometimes both parties are on the same page, and often they are not. I am available to help you under either scenario.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “PeacefulSplit™ Mediation” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you.  I can be reached at 954-272-8292.

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Trust, or to be more specific, lack of trust, is one of the main reasons why relationships fail. Regarding marriages, lack of trust or mistrust often results from infidelity or other similar event that occurred between the spouses. Spouses often ask me: “my spouse and I want to get divorced, but we just don’t trust each other. How can we do mediation?”

In thinking about that valid and important question, I recall the famous quote from President Reagan. When asked to describe his philosophy regarding the potential nuclear arms deal he was proposing with the Soviet Union, he stated: “Trust but Verify.” In divorce mediation, while it would be ideal if both spouses implicitly trusted one another, in real-life, that is often not the case. Couples seeking divorce exhibit an elevated and wide-range of feelings and emotions, and feeling a lack of trust in a spouse with whom you are planning to divorce is very common.

What does “trust but verify” mean with respect to mediating your divorce process and obtaining a Peaceful Split? It means that no one in the mediation process will force you to agree to anything. It means that you (and your spouse) each have complete veto power over every single decision. It means that you and your spouse continue to discuss and negotiate every issue, while I facilitate the process, until each of you says “YES” on each and every issue.

It is less important that you engage in mediation feeling compelled to trust your spouse. While, of course, that would be great and satisfying, it’s not necessary. What is required, however, is that you implicitly trust the process. As your Mediator, I work for the both of you and act as the navigator of the process ensuring that each of you and your positions are heard, respected and fully considered.

  • You can trust me to always respect your opinions.
  • You can trust me to always respect your wants and needs.
  • You can trust me to always maintain neutrality between you and your spouse.
  • You can trust me to always work tirelessly and with complete dedication towards a Peaceful Split result.

When I work with couples, I respect the fact that there may be different power-levels between the spouses. Likewise, each spouse will react differently to stress and the eruption of emotions that inevitably surface during the mediation process. I understand that how someone is emotionally responding to a particular issue or topic may impact their ability to trust the other spouse about that issue. Sometimes, it may be about financial issues, like alimony. Often times, it is related to their role as parents following the divorce. Moms and Dads may trust their soon-to-be ex-spouse to take care of the child, but may not trust that the person will not do something to alienate the children from the other parent. Similarly, parents may not trust how the children and the other parent will be able to function without them. Regardless of the source of the mistrust or lack-of-trust, I will work tirelessly to spend as much time as is necessary in order to for each parent to regain a sufficient level of trust to be able to feel comfortable with the negotiated issues.

Being able to trust your spouse with whom you are seeking a divorce may seem overwhelming. You may feel it’s impossible to trust that person because of some past actions or behaviors. You may be thinking “mediation is not for us; how can I trust what comes out of her mouth, or he cheated on me – how can I trust him now?”

The answer to these valid questions comes from the very nature of a Peaceful Split mediation: you are not obligated to anything you agreed upon during mediation until you have had sufficient time to review the settlement documents, had anyone you choose review them, and are wholly satisfied with the settlement agreement.  If, at anytime during the process, you change your mind on an issue, then we go back and renegotiate that issue. That is why the focus should be about trusting the mediation process, and not necessarily your spouse, since you have absolute veto-power over any issue that you disagree with.

If you and your spouse are ready for a Peaceful Split, or if your or spouse is unsure about the process, I can be of assistance. I am more than happy to have separate conversation with each of you, or, as is my preference, a conference-call during which I can explain to the both of you the benefits of a Peaceful Split mediation. Sometimes both parties are on the same page, and often they are not. I am available to help you under either scenario.

Ernest Hemingway once said “the best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.” The best way to find out if you can trust in a Peaceful Split mediation is to trust in the process and understand that there is nothing to lose. If the end result of the mediation is not satisfactory to you, then you still have all the rights and options that you have today – as you read this. You haven’t waived anything nor given up anything.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “Peaceful Split,” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you.  I can be reached at 954-272-8292.

 

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When a couple hires a real estate broker, their goal is the same: they both want to buy or sell their house. When a couple hires a babysitter, their goal is the same: they both want to ensure the safety and well-being of their child. Likewise, when a couple goes to the courthouse to obtain a marriage license, their goal is the same: they want to get married. However, when the subject is divorce, both spouses are not always on the same page.  What happens in that situation? How does the couple proceed? Is mediation still possible?

One of the biggest challenges I face as a Mediator is not during the actual mediation sessions. That may sound odd since divorce mediation often involves disagreements about important subjects such as alimony, child-support, time-sharing, asset division, etc. The truth is that my role as Mediator begins when I am first contacted by either the husband or the wife. It is during that conversation that I first learn where both parties stand in the divorce process and, ultimately, in the desire to use mediation to resolve their issues.

Sometimes a spouse may call and tell me: “We both want a divorce and we both want to Peacefully Split and mediate our divorce so that we can save time and money.” Other times I am told: “We both want a divorce, but I want to Peacefully Split and mediate our divorce, but my spouse is unsure. How do I get him/her to agree?”

Unlike buying/selling a house, or hiring a baby-sitter, or deciding to get married, a decision about divorce is an emotionally overwhelming and life-changing decision that not only affect the husband and wife, but their children and larger family systems as well. It is a decision that couples invariably do not celebrate or view as a great and happy event.

That is why it is important to recognize the normalcy of both spouses not being on the same page about divorce and mediation. It is also important to recognize that it is okay and acceptable for that situation to exist. When I mediate with couples, often times the biggest cause of their divorce is poor and ineffective communication. Therefore, it is logical that couples deciding upon a divorce and if mediation is the best choice for them is affected by their poor communication skills with one another.

My role is not just to mediate the divorce settlement, but to mediate the party’s decision-making process about the initial decision whether or not mediation is the best option for the couple. I am able to call upon my 22 years of experience as an attorney having represented hundreds of clients over the years to respectfully and in a non-pressuring manner speak with both spouses and explain the mediation process and how, I believe, it is in their best interests to try mediation before heading-off to court.

Mediation is not for every couple seeking divorce. If you want to hurt your spouse, mediation is not for you. If you want to use mediation to cause parental alienation, then mediation is not for you. If you want to seek revenge, mediation is not for you. However, if you and your spouse want to quickly, economically and in good-faith try mediation with the goal of reaching a settlement of your divorce issues (and issues related to raising your child after divorce), then mediation via a Peaceful Split may be right for you

If you and your spouse are ready for a Peaceful Split, or if your or spouse is unsure about the process, I can be of assistance. I am more than happy to have separate conversation with each of you, or, as is my preference, a conference-call during which I can explain to the both of you the benefits of a Peaceful Split mediation. Sometimes both parties are on the same page, and often they are not. I am available to help you under either scenario.

If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “Peaceful Split,” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Erica H. Epstein, are ready to assist you.  We can be reached at 954-272-8292.

 

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