Attack Problems, not each other. With regard to your co-parenting with your ex-spouse, you need to focus on the issues you’re having and not to make threats or to jump off the handle.
As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive After A Divorce Or Breakup” I had the pleasure of interviewingScott F. Levin, Esq, CDFA.
Scott is a passionate full-time family law peacekeeper and mediator. Scott exclusively provides mediation services for divorce and family law matters. Scott is the founding partner of the San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law. He is an active member of The Academy of Professional Family Mediators and many other organizations that promote the benefits of family mediation. Scott is also a licensed attorney in the state of California as well as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. He chooses to practice in mediation because he believes that spouses and parents should stay in control of their own divorce terms and avoid conflict in court. Reducing conflict between divorcing parents can have a huge impact on the next generation of parents and he remains committed to helping clients create and peacefully attack the issues of divorce and not each-other.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I came to family law mediation out of my interest to help make a positive impact on society. When you choose mediation, you’re not just choosing the most economical path, you’re choosing the most loving and compassionate path. Ending a marriage is difficult and painful and our clients demonstrate unique civility and care for each other by opting for mediation. And the result is that they are better able to move beyond divorce to become whole again more quickly.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about “divorce”?
I have been in the divorce industry as a litigator and then mediator for a number of years. I am a member of many divorce-related groups such as the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, VESTA Redefining Divorce, San Diego Collaborative Law Group, and many others.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
There are so many great stories. I recently had clients who contacted me in the post-divorce realm. Rob lives in NYC and has been divorced from Sue for 5 years. Sue lives in San Diego with their two teenage children. Every summer the kids go to Rob’s apartment in NYC for a few months. This year, when he contacted Sue about arranging this, she rejected that her children should go to the epicenter of COVID-19. This devolved into a huge fight and just before the two hired lawyers and started spending tens of thousands of dollars, they called me and we had a single 1-hour meeting.
During that meeting, we figured out a plan for Rob to first fly to San Diego to pick up the kids with PPE so they feel safe and aren’t too scared. Then instead of flying into NYC and staying in Manhattan, they would instead fly to Albany and then drive to the Catskills where Rob would rent a place for 2 months. Then at the conclusion of the trip, Rob would fly back with both kids to again make them feel safe. This sort of basic agreement would have been very difficult for them to arrange had they hired lawyers. That’s because the lawyers first would have filed an emergency motion and the fight would be on. Direct communication is the key to resolving disputes amicably and this is just a part of one story that was real and very recent. I can help people figure out solutions through creative option making.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
If you had a close friend come to you for advice after a divorce, what are 5 things you would advise in order to survive and thrive after the divorce? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- Attack Problems, not each other. With regard to your co-parenting with your ex-spouse, you need to focus on the issues you’re having and not to make threats or to jump off the handle.
- When attacked about past behavior, acknowledge that you understand your ex-spouse’s statement but don’t take the bait. Don’t rise like a fish to the bait. Pass it by and keep negotiating and focusing on the problems you need to resolve to achieve an agreement.
- Focus on your health and well-being
- Don’t make any major financial commitments for one year.
- Don’t fall for the first person you date.
What are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?
The hardest thing is to let go of anger and conflict. But that truly is the key to a successful divorce. You have to do your best through exercise, therapy, work, or whatever outlet you have to acknowledge the end of the relationship, accept responsibility for whatever it is you could have done differently, and to allow it to release from your body and soul.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?
My favorite divorce book EVER is “Getting Divorced Without Ruining Your Life” by Sam Margulies.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that helped you in this work? Can you share how that was relevant in your real life?
If you let a shark in the cage, everybody gets bloody.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
That everybody going through a divorce would be required to start in private mediation. I have helped so many couples divorce who never thought that they could ever agree without a judge forcing them to. Mediation is the key to opening the door to the next life the parties will live and to set them afoot without being held down with anger and resentment.