2017 Archive

Mediator Actions Impact if a Case Settles

The American Bar Association released, “A Report of the Task Force on Research on Mediator Techniques.” The report concluded as follows:

“Overall Conclusions. Looking at the relative potential for positive versus negative effects, while bearing in mind the substantial likelihood of no effects, the following mediator actions appear to have a greater potential for positive effects than negative effects on both settlement and related outcomes and disputants’ relationships and perceptions of mediation: (1) eliciting disputants’ suggestions or solutions; (2) giving more attention to disputants’ emotions, relationship, and sources of conflict; (3) working to build trust and rapport, expressing empathy or praising the disputants, and structuring the agenda; and (4) using pre-mediation caucuses focused on establishing trust. Some of these actions, however, have been examined in a relatively small number of studies and in only a subset of dispute types, primarily divorce, limited jurisdiction, community, and labor disputes.”

I fully agree with these conclusions. I find it essential to settlement that I help parties find solutions, acknowledge parties’ emotions, build trust with each party, and sparingly use private sessions. Attorneys call me a “closer” because I get parties to settlement… a settlement the parties can live with and not regret. Too many mediators focus on reaching settlement and forget to focus on the path to reach settlement. By neglecting the path, the likelihood of settlement becomes less likely. I find that if I trust the path, the settlement will naturally occur.

Julie Gentili Armbrust is changing how spousal support is calculated

Check-out the Register-Guard’s article in the Sunday Business section describing how Julie is providing a simple solution to the complex problem of spousal support.

In Oregon, spousal support is not a calculation. It is a guess. There is a much better way and Julie has created it. She uses actual spousal support cases and parties’ unique information to suggest a spousal support award. This new process will inform attorneys and parties so that no one is negotiating from their gut, but negotiating from a place of knowledge. No one needs to pay $20,000.00 per attorney to go to court to argue about spousal support because now, it is just a few clicks away.

Spousal Support in Oregon Just Got Easy!

I just read an excellent blog post discussing the current state of spousal support in Oregon and SupportHound.com, which is a calculator that uses real cases, parties’ information, and a proprietary algorithm to calculate a fair spousal support award. This blog clearly communicates the current state of spousal support in Oregon and also illustrates how SupportHound provides factual information to parties and attorneys to better negotiate their unique spousal support needs. Read this concise and informative post by clicking here.

Oregon Business Shout-Out For Mediation Northwest and SupportHound.com

Oregon Business conducted an interview with Julie Gentili Armbrust of Mediation Northwest and SupportHound that discusses how spousal support data from SupportHound can help reduce conflict and resolve disagreements surrounding spousal support.

This article is a great read and shines the light on how data can be used to benefit clients, if attorneys are willing to change their ways.

At Mediation Northwest, we believe in harnessing data from all sources to assist clients in being fully informed. Fully informed clients make better decisions!


Spousal Support – How Much and How Long

Spousal Support Data Changes Everything!

I read an informative article about spousal support and immediately thought, “But, what about the data?”

Across the vast majority of states (with the exception of five states), spousal support is discretionary, which means there is no magic formula or calculator to determine spousal support. It also means that it is either up to the parties to agree, or up to the court to determine, how much spousal support is awarded and for how long.  Attorneys and parties end-up negotiating in a vacuum of information and therefore negotiate from speculation, gut, attorney’s best guess, I want, I can’t, etc.

In Oregon, the landscape for negotiating spousal support is changing because, thanks to SupportHound.com, we now have the data!  SupportHound provides attorneys, judges, and parties with the data from actual spousal support awards. SupportHound is a spousal support calculator that uses real cases, parties’ information, and a proprietary algorithm to calculate a fair spousal support award. I use it everyday in my divorce mediation practice and love it!

In Oregon, parties no longer need to negotiate from speculation or gut and instead can negotiation from actual spousal support data.  Would you go buy a car without researching the prices on the internet? Of course not!  Why would anyone negotiate a spousal support payment of several thousand dollars per month without conducting some research into what the data says they should pay (or receive)? Everyone should be conducting research on their impending spousal support award.

The times are changing and the biggest change is having access to data. Data gives you peace of mind that you are getting a fair deal.  I encourage anyone who is negotiating spousal support (in Oregon) to try SupportHound today.

Is Mediation A Less Expensive Option to Litigation?

Mediation makes perfect sense for parties who can be reasonable with each other, even if they cannot agree on the decisions. Mediation is designed to assist rational individuals to find reasonable solutions to problems that they could not agree upon prior to mediation. The key is rational and reasonable. If your spouse is rational and reasonable, then you should absolutely try mediation. If your spouse is irrational, unreasonable, or untrustworthy, then mediation will fail.

If mediation is only being used to save money, but the parties cannot agree on anything, then mediation will not be successful and it is a colossal waste of money.

I see parties all the time who insist on using mediation because it will cost less. These parties tend to crash and burn in mediation. So, then what happens? Then, they hire attorneys to start the process all over again. Hiring an attorney is expensive, but hiring an attorney is less expensive than going through mediation, failing at mediation, and using attorneys to start the process all over again.

So, does it make sense to use mediation at all? What IF we don’t settle in mediation?

If your spouse is rational and reasonable, then you should absolutely try mediation. At Mediation Northwest, we have an extremely high success rate of reaching a signed Mediation Settlement Agreement. Mediation is a far less expensive option and it provides closure for the parties in a way that litigation or represented parties do not feel.

Divorce is horrible, but you aren’t a victim

The divorce may not be your choice, but the terms of the divorce are your choice. This will be one of the most difficult times in your life. Divorce is horrible and awful, but that doesn’t mean you get to stick your head in the sand.  It will be difficult to concentrate on anything beyond surviving. You need to schedule time to learn how this divorce will impact your life. Read books about divorce.  Read blogs about divorce.  Go see an attorney.  This divorce is happening, how it happens is up to you.