How Should You Celebrate your Children’s Birthdays After a Divorce?

As a divorce mediator, I work closely with couples to develop a settlement that works best for them. And when I begin working with a divorcing couple who have children, the first thing I do is establish a parenting plan. I do this first for a number of reasons.

First of all, I like to start with a topic in which the parents are likely to be on the same page; after all, nearly every parent wants what is best for their children. Secondly, children are not “negotiables”, and I do not allow them to be negotiated for anything. [Read more…]

Divorce Mediation: An Effective Way to Pursue Creative Divorce Settlement Solutions

As someone who has guided numerous divorcing spouses during divorce mediation and been divorced myself, I understand how ugly things can get. For many couples, the idea that they could resolve their differences amicably and without the involvement of the courts seems like fantasy land. The reality is there are very few couples who enter a divorce proceeding on friendly terms; by the time they reach the point of dissolving the marriage, most couples have tried for months and sometimes years to make things work. [Read more…]

“Children of Divorce” Monday, July 7th, 12pm EST LIVE WHYY/NPR Radio

Divorce is not simply a legal process between a husband and wife that dissolves a marriage. It is a life altering event that will forever effect not only the two going through the process but everyone in the immediate circles in their lives.  If the two divorcing individuals are parents, their children will be the ones effected the most by the divorce. [Read more…]

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Join Roseann and her guest Jontie Hays, LCSW, Author of Monkey in the Middle Divorce & Founder at Be Whole Counseling. Today, Jontie will be offering her expert opinion on how actually fighting amongst parents in front of their children can be beneficial. Probably a far cry from opinions with how many of us grew up but definitely some good points will be made. Join us for this discussion today and learn how you can help your children in their development & how to teach them dispute resolution skills.

Listen in LIVE to WTER every Thursday at 2:30pm or listen On Demand anytime!

Family Affaires Radio Show

Parental Fighting~Good for the Kids?

For as long as I can remember, the school of thought has been “don’t fight in front of the kids”. Just recently the Wall Street Journal published an article suggesting that “healthy” fighting is actually good for the kids.

Here is an excerpt from the article…..”Dr. Davies, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and fellow researches found that constructive marital conflict was associated with an increase in children’s emotional security, in their study of 235 families with children ages 5-7 published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry”.

Considering that most who are reading this are not Family Mediators, your immediate questions are likely to be, “isn’t all fighting bad” or “what constitutes healthy fighting”? Let’s face it, conflict is a part of life. If we are lucky enough to have siblings, we find out early on in our lives that we have to share, and part of sharing involves learning how to problem solve and even negotiate. All skills that will serve us well later on in our journey through life.

Down the road these same kids may take part in team sports, have friends and even later become a co-worker. All scenarios where people are not always going to agree with them and having constructive conflict resolution skills will serve them well.

What better place then to start learning these skills from our parents. The two individuals responsible for teaching us most of what we learn about relationships and after whom we will most likely model our behavior.

Healthy fighting includes disagreeing respectfully and handling the disagreement in a constructive way. Spewing threats and insults, bottling up anger, giving the silent treatment or using profanity would not be classified as a “constructive means” of communicating.

Instead, couples should try and discuss issues soon after the time that an issue has surfaced. Try and examine it from all angles, not just your perspective. Bring the issue up to your significant other in a non threatening and non aggressive manner so that it allows for open discussion. I know this is not always easy when emotions run high but if you begin to have an awareness it will help tremendously.

As for the kids, the article says to watch for their reactions and any sign that the kids are under stress or have anxiety, all conflict should be shut down and tabled until after the kids have gone to sleep or aren’t around. Also important is showing your children that you still love each other even after you have had an argument. It sends the message that conflict in a relationship is normal and it’s ok. Chances are your kid will grow up to be an adult who has good conflict resolution skills that will make their journey in life, in business and with their own families a much more fulfilling and productive one. Who knows, they may even become the Family Mediator!

Take a minute to read the entire article in the WSJ and let us know what you think about “healthy” fighting in front of the kids.

WSJ Article

Roseann Vanella, Professional Family Mediator & President of Advanced Mediation Solutions located in Cherry Hill, NJ. Roseann hosts a weekly radio talk show, “Family Affaires”, every Thursday from 2:30pm-3pm EST on WTER.

Children & Divorce

Children & Divorce

7 Back to School Tips for Children & Parents Newly Divorced

Around this time of year parents are focused on “Back To School”. Whether it’s buying school supplies, getting annual check ups or signing kids up for sports, this tends to be a stressful time of year for children and parents alike.

Now throw into the mix, newly divorced parents and children of divorce, it gets much more complicated. Not only is everyone dealing with the usual back to school madness, but now there’s issues that have never been dealt with before. For kids who’s parents divorced over the summer it’s a whole new world. Their homes may have changed, they are now splitting time between two homes, their close friends may be living further away and they may have even changed schools. Whatever the changes are, rest assured that their once familiar territory has now become uncharted waters that will require much navigation on their part which may lead to tremendous stress.

As for parents, they may be going through similar changes in homes, neighbors that they once knew and relied on are now strangers and the stresses of being a single parent can be overwhelming. Juggling careers, children schedules and caring for a home which once was shared between two is now a big job for one.

Although all of these changes are overwhelming for both kids and newly divorced parents, several steps can be taken to make the transition a smooth one that will eventually lead to much brighter days for everyone.

  1. Sit down with your children before school starts and explain what their new daily schedules will be. Kids will feel more secure when they know what to expect. Parents will feel more at ease having a plan.
  2. If you haven’t already initiated a shared Parenting Time Calendar for the kids to see, this would be a good time. Post it on the refrigerator so it’s in clear view.
  3. Create a Google shared calendar for Co Parenting with the kids schedule on it so both parents are in the loop. The less surprises the easier the transition.
  4. Whether new schools are in the future or not, inform all teachers and counselors of the new living arrangements.
  5. If you have moved into a new neighborhood, host a get together with neighbors so everyone can get to know each other. Kids make friends fast and will make the first day of school easier if they are familiar with some other kids in school.
  6. Keep open communication with your kids and your ex. It’s so important to focus on the children and make sure that they are ok.
  7. Be flexible with your ex. Remember this is new territory for everyone. It may take some time to work out the kinks. It’s a time to try and put past behind you and move forward as positively as possible. We can’t change the past, we can only look to the future.

Roseann Vanella is a Professional Family Mediator and Founder of Advanced Mediation Solutions located in Cherry Hill, NJ. She also hosts a weekly radio show, Family Affairs, on WTER every Thursday at 2:30pm EST.

Tips Back to School







The Non Intimidating Divorce-Is it Possible?

Of course the answer is YES!!!

Whenever I mention that I am a Professional Family Mediator and part of my job is helping couples to divorce, I get an endless assortment of reactions. Nose scrunches, eye rolls, looks of disgust and then the infamous “Oh my god, that has to be a terrible job”! The transition of divorce is very difficult for couples and their families but it doesn’t have to be a horrible and gut wrenching experience.

Many people will stay in bad, unhealthy, sometimes even abusive marriages because the thought of enduring the dreaded battle of divorce is perceived to be less painful than going through the process to end it. We have all seen the movie “The War of the Roses”, this is most likely what comes to mind. Other people will shy away from it because they are too intimidated to embark on the journey worrying if their spouses attorney will be like something out of Gladiator where there are no rules of engagement and the last one standing wins.

Divorce doesn’t have to be intimidating. Intimidation comes from insecurity or aggression and often is centered around finances where one spouse has held the keys to the kingdom as far as control and knowledge of the couples financial affairs.

The entire premise behind Mediation is that couples are coming together in a neutral environment with a neutral third party facilitator ( The Mediator) to assist them in coming to agreement on the terms of their divorce. Information is disclosed by all parties so everyone is on an equal playing field thus eliminating that feeling of intimidation. Instead of each person hiring an attorney to “represent” them, they are deciding to communicate directly with one another. The Mediator is in charge of the process and keeping emotions in check but the couple and only the couple, is in charge of making all of the decisions. The Mediator will guide them through all of the areas that are required in a Divorce.

  • The Parenting Plan– If children are involved, this is a document that covers many issues like Parenting time, Physical Custody, Legal Custody, Holiday Schedules and is customized to each families unique needs
  • Child Support– If children are involved
  • Equitable Distribution-Dividing all of the assets, including homes, investments, cars, valuable art and anything else the couple has acquired.
  • Spousal Support-The old “Alimony”.

Some clients retain attorneys but instead of utilizing their services for representation, they look to them for legal advice, much of the same as one would look to an accountant for advice on how spousal support would impact their taxes or any other tax question.

After the mediation is complete, the Mediator prepares what is called a Memorandum of Understanding, which outlines the entire terms of the divorce and the Parenting Plan. That document can then be brought to an attorney for either review, if desired, or in order to have the divorce filed and finalized with the courts. Many Mediators establish relationships with Family Law Attorneys who can easily and cost effectively take care of the process.

Much of the public has this notion that divorcing couples need to be “best friends” in order to mediate. This could not be further from the truth. In actuality I have never seen a divorcing couple come in as best friends, but instead they are couples that understand the value in direct communication, making their own decisions, not wanting to spend their retirement on paying for a divorce and most importantly, want to spare their family from adversarial, damaging, behavior that often occurs when litigating.


Roseann Vanella is a Professional Family Mediator, President of Advanced Mediation Solutions, a Cherry Hill, NJ full service Mediation firm and is a Radio Host of Family Affairs, a blog talk radio show on WTER. Roseann can be reached at, or 856-669-7172.Visit her website for more information.





The Impact of Divorce

Recently Roseann Vanella of Advanced Mediation Solutions was interviewed by Suburban Family Magazine for her expert advice and information on using mediation for a divorce. The author did an excellent job of educating readers on the different options for divorce as well as provide some great advice on dealing with children going through a divorce.  Please take a moment to read this article and we would love to hear comments from our followers or any experiences you would like to share with us. Knowledge is power, so let’s empower as many as possible.

Read the article.

Mediation Solutions for Families

An Attorney’s View on Divorce Mediation

This is a guest post written by Texas divorce attorney Scott Morgan. Scott is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and found of the Morgan Law Firm. The firm serves Austin divorce clients and also has offices in Houston and Sugar Land.


As a Texas divorce attorney I resolve cases both by trial and by mediation. The Texas Family Code encourages mediation and in most counties it is actually mandatory in divorce cases that the parties attend mediation prior to trial. But even in those jurisdictions where mediation is not required there are some very good reasons to try to resolve your case at mediation instead of taking it to trial. Below are some of what I consider to be the biggest advantages to mediation over trial.

Mediation Helps You Retain Control of Your Divorce

A Judge’s job is to hear evidence and making rulings that are in accordance with the law. Generally speaking, they are not overly concerned about what you might want or what may be really important to you. Once you step into a courtroom you lose all control over the outcome of your divorce.

By contrast mediation lets you retain full control of your situation. You know what is truly important to you and what you are willing to trade to get what you want. An outcome that you agree to is generally far preferable to one that is imposed on you.

Mediation Helps Lower the Financial Burden of Divorce

Divorce is expensive. Divorce lawyer fees skyrocket in the days and weeks leading up to trial. The more complicated your case is the more you can expect to pay your attorney to prepare to fight for you in court. It is not unusual at all in complex cases for each party to spend $25,000 to $50,000 in legal fees and sometimes much more. On the flip side, the cost of mediation is relatively low. This is especially true if your mediation happens early in the case. 

Mediation Can Speed Up the Process

Let’s face it, when you are ready to be divorced, you are ready to be divorced. The court process can take months: filing papers, depositions, written discovery, preliminary hearings and finally trial. Mediation happens in your time frame. There is no mandatory waiting period and the written terms of the agreement are typically drafted right then.

Mediation Keeps Your Private Life Private

Nobody wants their dirty laundry aired in a public forum. If you walk into a courtroom, everything you say (or that is said about you) becomes public record. You can avoid all of that by settling your case in mediation. You don’t have to worry about breaking down in front of a courtroom filled with strangers, nor do you have to feel embarrassed about your financial situation becoming a public discussion. 

Considering all the benefits of mediation you really should consider whether it is the best choice for your divorce. I know that if I were personally going through a divorce I would try my best to resolve the case without having to go to trial.

This blog has been posted by Advanced Mediation Solutions a full service mediation firm located in Cherry Hill, NJ.  Roseann Vanella is the President and Host of a weekly radio show, “Family Affairs”, every Thursday at 2:30pm EST.

divorce Advanced Mediation Solutions