Talking About Divorce
Divorce not only impacts families and home life, it also affects the workplace. Mary wades through the overwhelming amounts of information on divorce and offers a customized talk geared to how divorce impacts specific groups, and more importantly, informing participants of their options so they are able to help themselves, family, friends, business colleagues and employees find a path towards resolution, make a clean break and move on with their lives.
To Separating and Divorcing Couples
Getting Started ∙ Process Options ∙ Impacts on Money and Kids ∙ Coping ∙ Self-Care
Mary has helped countless couples better understand the options including do-it-yourself divorce, collaborative law, litigation, mediation and clearly stating the pros and cons of each option and how it may hurt or heal your future relationships, erode your net worth, or impede your ability to move on with your life.
Topics for seminars or lunch and learns include:
- taking the first step – understanding how to get started and to help yourself on this journey
- mediation as an alternative to the legal system
- discussing the key areas of focus including children and money
- issues relating to the division of family property, child and spousal support, access and custody
- the impact grieving the “death” of the marriage has on the decision making process
- tips on taking care of yourself
Costs of Divorce ∙ How to Help ∙ Creating Loyalty
Employers are not fully aware of the dramatic impact that divorce has on the work performance of employees nor the direct correlation between length of time in a divorce process to increased stress and as a result a direct impact on the emotional and physical health of the individual. Employers can create long lasting employee loyalty by offering understanding, flexibility and benefit plans that support mediation.
Key messages in talks to management include:
- providing employers with a better understanding of the negative impact of divorce on the workplace as well as the costs of divorce to the bottom line in terms of employee morale, productivity and time lost in the workplace
- how mediation versus the legal system used in divorce settlements is able to reduce stress to their employees and get them back to productive work sooner
- discussing what employers can do to support divorcing or separating couples including how Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and their Human Resource departments can help get couples back to work and fully functioning while respecting employee confidentiality and employment law
- disclosing the benefits of EAP’s providing options for consultation with mediators, such as they do with lawyers
To Service Providers
Bringing Empathy ∙ Unique Issues ∙ Creative Cost Effective Options ∙ Mediation Partner
There are key service providers who have a unique opportunity to better serve their clients who are going through the difficult and emotional challenges of divorce and separation. Divorce has a domino effect and couples find themselves facing the stress of making a multitude of decisions that can be made easier with empathetic and informed service providers about the challenges of divorce. Mary focuses on the specific ways these service providers can best help their clients and to educate them about the option of mediation versus the legal system and their ability to become a mediation partner.
Banks and Financial Institutions − educating bank client service managers and Certified Financial Planners about the impact divorce will have on their client’s current and future financial investments. Using a proactive and positive approach, Mary outlines what positive steps can be taken by these folks to help their clients during the divorce process, discussing the role they play during and after the process, how they can anticipate and understand any conflict of interest risks and how they can best help their clients preserve wealth and protect their assets during this difficult time. These sessions can qualify for continuing education credits for their certifications.
Realtors − Speaking to real estate boards and brokerages about a member of the family – the matrimonial home. When a client decides to separate or divorce, this will always lead to one, two or three real estate transactions. In many cases the matrimonial home is the largest asset and needs to be considered in determining the future financial liquidity of the parties and the legal obligation of payments of any Net Equalization Payment under Family Law. If realtors are unaware or ignore these issues it could impair any flexibility for a couple in their divorce settlement. Mary educates realtors on these issues and how they can help their client keep the matrimonial home, but if this is not feasible, how they can provide clients with interim options for residency before choosing any permanent moves. These sessions can qualify for continuing education credits for their certifications.
Mortgage Brokers − Mary offers sound advice for brokers about the key issues facing separating and divorcing couples. This could include establishing credit for a stay-at-home mom who may not have the utilities, credit cards or loans in her name and may need to establish an independent credit rating. Tips are also provided regarding debt consolidation and working to improve credit ratings so each party can move forward with their own life, avoiding default on the matrimonial home during transition, creative options to arrange financing to fund two households and mitigate the risk of mortgage interest penalties. These sessions can qualify for continuing education credits for their certifications.
Employee Assistance Program Providers − These service providers can play a critical role for employers in helping them reduce the costs incurred by employers in the form of benefit costs, lost productivity and worker absenteeism. Mary can address why mediation should be considered as a viable option to the legal system and how it is advantageous to employees as an alternative to paying legal fees. She would also address the importance of providing counselling for adults and children as part of the healing process as positive steps to help employees return to work. Many programs offered to employers as benefit programs for employees include counselling and limited legal advice but few offer mediation as an alternative or recommend mediators to help separating and divorcing couples.
To Associations and Charities
Creating Awareness ∙ Increasing Expertise ∙ Giving Back
Studies have proven that stress leads to many psychological and physical illnesses which then results in higher costs to society in terms of health care, and if people are incapacitated due to stress costs in unemployment benefits and workers compensation etc. Mary’s belief is that key to better management of costs to society is not to increase spending in these areas reacting and responding needs but to take proactive steps to help reduce the stress which will then reduce the need people have on social assistance programs and health care. “People want to work. We need to all collectively help people do that,” says Mary. She sees as her way of giving back is to raise awareness about conflict mediation and management, increasing the expertise of practitioners to better serve clients who are going through separation and divorce and to directly support non-for-profit organizations dedicated to helping those in need.
Organizations that Govern Practitioners − Mary is an expert speaker on the issue of separation and divorce and the impact on society. She helps practitioners better understand the implication of divorce in terms of finances, tax implications and offers proven tips and methodologies in mediation toward reaching settlement. She advises parties on how to work with the law with regard to the division of assets, determining income and support through conflict resolution. “I provide speaking engagements and workshops with hands-on case studies for participants to complete and discuss. Mary has held workshops and addressed the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts Conference as well as CE Credits an organization providing continuing education for Certified Financial Planners and mortgage brokers.
Employee Associations − Teachers, police, fire, and health care workers are groups, due to the nature of their jobs as front-line service providers, that face the highest incidence of separation and divorce. Mary addresses employee associations bringing to the forefront the need to relieve and manage stress in the workplace, whether the stress is work related or comes from home such as separation and divorce, so that front-line workers can better serve the community. It is important that people working in fields where they face conflict every day, be made aware of the options they have available to them to help resolve their own issues.
Charitable Organizations − Mary offers her time as a key note speaker or panelist for non-for-profit organizations which help families deal with separation and divorce. Mary is passionate about giving back to the communities she serves and offers her speaking engagements on a pro bono basis, excluding out-of-pocket expenses.