Published February, 2009 – SRQ Magazine
Zollinger Mediation & Divorce Financial Analysis
Freya Robbins, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and Mediator
As a mediator, how do you help couples face the financial realities of divorce ?
I start with the couple – together, if possible. I am an advocate for both of them. A separating couple needs an unbiased party – needs someone who can measure the options and weigh the choices. As a mediator, I help them understand each other’s perspective. Mediation is the peaceful alternative to an adversarial divorce. He wants to know he won’t lose everything he has worked for and she wants to know she will not be left on the street. Who should keep the house? or should it be sold? Should alimony be a lump sum or paid monthly? What should their living arrangements and finances be during the process? And children. Decisions involving children are often the most difficult decisions to make. if a couple can’t find the answers to these questions before or during the divorce process, they might endure financial and emotional hurt long afterwards. Attorneys frequently advise their clients not to talk to each other. My goals is a win-win for both husband and wife. Families benefit from the type of closure that mediation encourages because it allows the family system to continue in a healthy manner. Divorce can be heartbreaking and gut wrenching; it doesn’t have to create more animosity or result in exorbitant expenses. You turn to an attorney for their expertise in conflict; you turn to a mediator for their expertise in resolution. Good communication decides 95 percent of all divorce settlement agreements. Only five percent of cases utilize attorneys and are decided by a judge. Florida law requires mediation prior to court, so why no start here? You will agree on what’s fair and what’s reasonable within the bounds of the law regarding division of assets, alimony, child support and parenting issues. When someone reads this interview, I hope the realize it’s worth it to spend an hour and get answers to their questions; to meet with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™) and get a plan “A” and a plan “B.” The bottom line? Most divorcing couples have enough love in their hearts to do what’s best for each other and their children. I get to facilitate those good decisions.
Zollinger Mediation & Divorce Financial Analysis specializes in guiding divorcing couples through the financial entanglements of the divorce process. Freya Robbins leads its team of mediation experts. Zollinger is a certified mediator and divorce financial analyst. She has five years experience mediating more than 100 cases. Zollinger worked for 18 years as an account executive with AT&T, where she negotiated agreements in demanding conditions. This seasoned professional brings a combination of specialized financial expertise and strong people skills to the table, as well as a background that combines professional training and personal experience in marriage, parenting, and step-parenting. The result is a proven track record. Zollinger has successfully assisted families for 20 years, and is often called on to share her knowledge as a guest speaker and workshop leader. “My goal is the creation of a financially feasible settlement, one that both spouses agree to in advance,” she says. “A settlement that fully addresses the divorcing couple’s long-term financial needs makes all the difference. It allows the couple to make the necessary decisions today – and enjoy a better tomorrow. The couple’s marriage may be over, but the rest of their lives are still ahead. Our goal is to help them make it a good one.”