Collaboration Through Mediation

Mediation is a collaborative process for resolving of disputes — fairly, with honesty and transparency. Mediation can be tailored to fit the needs of the situation and the goal is always to obtain the healthiest financial and emotional resolution possible.

Between Love and Hate
Mediation works in the space between love and hate. Mediation is a valuable tool for individuals who are capable of working together, even where consequential differences exist between them.

Between Reasonable and Emotional
Where a conflict includes reason and emotion, mediation can effectively clarify the differences in a manner where all the participants can be heard and understood. Most disagreements are not purely based on facts or feelings. Marital separation and divorce disagreements are a complex of emotional and legal factors. In divorce mediation where both persons are working simultaneously with the mediator, clarity between emotional issues and legal issues will emerge; without such clarity, conflict and lack of trust can increase, resulting in unnecessary economic and emotional cost.

Between Entitlement and Dependency
Power imbalances are an aspect of most conflicts — people want what they want. In the process of mediation, there is movement between periods of assertion and acquiescence. The mediator serves to facilitate these shifts in the balance of power in the service of a fair, legal, and viable resolution of the disagreements. Each participant in the mediation process comes to see their needs and wants in the context of the actual limits and possibilities of the situation. At that point, the individuals gain a sense of how to obtain what they need given all the facts that have been explored. Making decisions in mediation with all the options revealed results in the healthiest outcome possible.

Between Resentment and Respect
Interpersonal emotions are heightened in a conflict, shifting along a continuum between resentment and respect. The mediation process can hold effective boundaries to the shifts in interpersonal feelings such that the participants act with decorum. If they arise, disdain and hostility are defused and focused into constructive engagement.

Between Fear and Greed
Change can evoke hope and dread. Mediation provides a safe forum for expression of positive and negative expectations, thereby defusing the possibility that decision will be made based on fear and greed. This is one way in which the mediation process serves to create a long-term sustainable agreement.

Divorce Mediation

In divorce mediation the couple meets with a neutral third party, the mediator, to resolve any disputes regarding the divorce. Mediation can resolve all the disputes in a divorce including child custody, property division, and financial support determination. Through mediation, issues can be settled in a way that can preserve important family ties and resolve difficult financial and emotional issues.

As an attorney and a psychologist Sietze can tailor the mediation process to suit the circumstances of the individuals involved, determining exactly what structure is needed to help you both obtain the healthiest divorce possible.

Mediation is not right for everyone; however, there are some basic considerations that may indicate if it is right for you.

Divorce Mediation with Sietze Vanderheide

Is Mediation Right for You?


The mediation sessions are generally two hours in length and are held as frequently as needed based on the nature of the problems being discussed.
The goal is to address all the issues in the context of all the other issues – no one aspect of a divorce exists in isolation. Financial issues, property and housing issues, as well as parenting issues are all interrelated and it is Sietze’s goal to help the individuals resolve the dispute with the over-all context in mind.
Additionally, the mediation includes a view toward the future. A good agreement must stand the test of time. The solution to today’s problems must be addressed in light of what may happen in the future, including the current circumstances and future considerations results in the best settlement possible.
You do not need to get along in order to participate in mediation. A common miss-perception is that mediation requires that you like each other or that you get along and not disagree. If all that were true you probably would not be getting a divorce. You do not have to like each other or agree to use mediation.
You must be committed to
honesty and truthfulness. Mediation requires that you be honest and truthful. If you aim to hide assets or manipulate the system, then mediation is not for you.
You must be able to express your needs and listen to others. You do not need to know everything about what you need; however, you must be able to express yourself, to speak your mind and to listen to others who do so as well.
You must be able to participate
in the mediation process. Mediation is a process of discussion that leads to resolution of differences. It is not handing over your problems over to a mediator who will resolve them for you. The mediator facilitates discussion, making suggestions that help the resolve disagreements. And you must be able to participate in that discussion.