Since you are a lawyer, as my coach, will you also give me legal advice?
My law firm clients have coaching built into their legal service. However, my Coaching services focus solely on coaching clients through the emotional and life-changing aspects related to divided/blended families.
What’s the difference between a coach and a therapist?
Therapy/Counseling focuses on issues you may be struggling with as it relates to your past.
Coaching, on the other hand, focuses on setting goals and implementing them in order to have a more positive future. Sometimes coaching and therapy go hand-in-hand in situations where a person is working hard with their coach to move forward but also needs help overcoming the past. Coaching clients will be advised to seek counseling if necessary.
What are the benefits of having a coach?
Being a parent of a divided/blended family is an extremely difficult experience. Having a coach ensures that you don’t have to face your issues on your own and provides professional guidance, an objective perspective and the support you need to shed light on the path to a better future.
How does the coaching process work?
Coaching clients have a few different coaching options:
Virtual Coaching Courses
We periodically offer coaching intensive courses for parents of divided/blended families. In these courses, participants access a webinar or telephone conference where they get valuable information on the designated topic as well as their most pressing questions answered. Participants walk away understanding principles that can be applied in their divided family situation right away. This is the least expensive of our coaching options available. For more information on courses, check out our COURSES page.
Individual Coaching sessions are one hour long and can be conducted via phone, skype, and in select cases,in person. Coaching clients work with Merissa individually to discuss their concerns, develop a plan, and learn the most practical way to implement that plan. Clients purchase sessions individually or in a package at a discounted rate. Once purchased, clients may use their sessions at any time, as needed, by scheduling their appointments thru the client calendaring portal.
Joint Coaching (Coaching for both or all parents in a divided/blended family)
Joint Coaching sessions are for parents of divided/blended families who are serious about tackling their co-parenting difficulties once and for all. Thru Joint Coaching, Merissa helps parents avoid frequently appearing in court to address issues and disputes that are specifically related to co-parenting. During these sessions, both parents (stepparents are welcome to join too) work with Merissa to discuss their concerns. Merissa is then able to assist parents with developing and/or implementing a parenting plan and helping the parties comply with the plan or an existing court order. With dedication and commitment to joint coaching, parents become skilled at co-parenting their children in a healthy, constructive way, rather than carrying on with unhealthy antics that will ultimately detrimentally affect their children. Joint coaching sessions are one and a half hour long and can be conducted via phone, skype, or in person. Coaching clients can purchase sessions individually or in a package at a discounted rate. Once purchased, clients may use their sessions at any time, as needed, by scheduling their appointments thru the client calendaring portal.
What exactly is “coaching”?
Coaching is about helping YOU – helping you reach your fullest potential as a parent in a divided/blended family so that your child can have the brightest future possible. Coaching is not therapy and does not provide legal advice. It’s about the future-looking ahead, it does not focus on the past.
Coaching provides a safe environment for you to express and explore your feelings of confusion, anger, frustration, guilt, fear, sadness and more that often come with the territory of being in a divided family. The goal of coaching is to assist you with managing these emotions and developing goals and a plan for the future of your divided family.
Your co-parent coach will assist by:
Guiding you to the appropriate resources or professionals you need,
Giving you an objective opinion in order for you to make rational decisions.
Helping you understand the legal process and what to realistically expect.
Helping you work through conflicts that arise
Helping you Communicate more effectively with your child’s other parent;
Organizing the documents you will need during your legal proceedings;
Collaborating with other members of your team, including your attorney or therapist to help you reach a successful conclusion.
What is a Divided/Blended family coach?
A divided/blended family coach is a skilled professional that has knowledge, education, and experience needed to assist with the common issues that arise between the parents of divided/blended families.
Essentially, it's a life coach that focuses on issues related to divided/blended families. We like to compare a co-parent coach to that friend who will listen to you vent your frustrations, but will then give you sound advice and the tools you need to rationally resolve your issues. The major difference between that friend and your coach is that your coach is a skilled, experienced professional, is neutral and doesn’t have any preconceptions about you or your situation.
Do you offer mediation to parties who are represented by an attorney?
Absolutely. I frequently work with parties and their attorneys to help them reach an agreement.
We’ve tried to reach an agreement before, but couldn’t! Will a mediator really help?
One major advantage of mediation is that as a mediator, I'm not connected to the dispute, thus because I have no personal interest in the case, it’s easy for me to assist the parties in communicating. I specialize in working with parties with high conflict; even if the parties have tried previously to work out their differences or negotiate their issues but were unsuccessful, I often assist parties by moderating their communications (requiring listening while the other is speaking, etc.) and helping them stay focused on the relevant issues. As a mediator I guide the parties through the negotiation process and help break down the barriers that have been keeping them from finding solutions.
I have even been able to help clients who previously reported not being able to sit in the same room together without conflict find a common ground that worked best for their family.
If we reach an agreement, will it become a court order?
Yes, the Mediated Settlement Agreement will be filed in court under your existing case number, requesting a signature from the judge which will then make it a court order.
If you have not already opened a case, I assist with this process for an additional fee.
How long will mediation take?
That depends on the parties! While some parties are able to reach their agreement in just one 2-hour session, others take a few more sessions.
How much will Mediation cost?
That depends on the parties, the level of conflict, and their willingness to compromise and cooperate as necessary to work out an agreement that best suits their family. Typical investment ranges from $1,000-$4000+ depending on the circumstances of your family.
Is Mediation right for my situation?
They key to successful mediation is for both parties to focus on finding solutions that work best for their divided family. Mediation is not about one party winning against the other; it’s all about working together to find a middle ground. If you are unable to set your personal feelings about the other parent to the side, refuse to compromise, or expect the other to concede to your every demand, mediation is likely not the solution for you.
What Issues Can Be Mediated?
Although our services focus on Child custody, visitation, child support, and co-parenting, we will also mediate property division, and spousal support when accompanied with these issues.
What are the benefits of Mediation?
With our no-nonsense policy, Mediation is an opportunity for understanding, as the mediator allows each party to express their concerns in a safe environment, without interruption.
Mediation is not an adversarial process, the mediator’s goal is to help facilitate negotiation between the parties.
Mediation gives the parties flexibility. The parties have complete control of the outcome, as they ultimately make settlement decisions.
Mediation allows the parties to consider and include very specific details related to their children in their agreement; from bedtime, to the type of religion that will be practiced, to discipline methods, etc. the possibilities are endless.
Mediation is confidential.
Mediation agreements are enforceable.
Successful Mediation results in significantly less time, cost and stress than battling it out in court.
How does the Mediation process work?
Mediation begins with the mediator collecting information from each individual party regarding the history of the case, their position, their concerns, and their wishes.
Prior to the first meeting, each party will complete a written exercise that will help structure much of the discussion related to their case.
The mediator then assesses the issues raised by each party objectively and meets with them to discuss and find a common ground in order to reach their own resolution.
Once all of the issues and concerns have been thoroughly addressed, the mediator will prepare a Mediated Settlement Agreement for the parties review.
Each party will then have time to fully review this agreement and have it reviewed by their own attorney if they choose.
Once the Agreement is executed and duly witnessed, the agreement will be filed in court, along with other required legal documents to effectuate either a temporary order or final judgment (dependent upon the parties’ wishes)
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process where the parties to a legal dispute jointly hire a neutral third party to assist them in reaching an amicable solution to their problems in lieu of battling it out in court.
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