Beverly Tarr, the founder of Certified Divorce Mediation, is internationally recognized as an expert Mediator. She is a guest speaker at International World Summits due to the success of her mediation model. She was appointed as a UK Barrister (trial attorney) in 1995. Since 2004 her practice has been dedicated to solving complex matrimonial mediations. She has extensive experience in all aspects of family law matters.
Beverly Tarr is a highly respected mediator with over 15 years of family law mediation experience. She combines business acumen with unparalleled interpersonal skills to manage the mediation process. Her advanced financial expertise and skillful management of the parties and/or the attorneys allows for lasting resolution. She is adaptable to the needs of all parties and their personal, emotional, and financial situation. Ms Tarr’s typical clients are high net-worth individuals, business owners, physicians, lawyers, entrepreneurs, celebrities, professional athletes, educators, and their spouses
Ms. Tarr is recognized as an expert internationally in her field and was selected as a keynote speaker for the World Mediation Summit in Madrid in 2014 and 2016. In addition, she was internationally recognized during her presentation at the World Mediation Organization in Berlin in 2015 and in Greece the same year. She specifically addresses the conferences on her unique model and highly sought after alternative dispute strategies. She is widely regarded as an international and national advocate of the mediation process. Her vast experience enables her to work with challenging personal dynamics often present during a divorce. Her open and effective communication techniques address perceived imbalances of power between parties. She is adept at navigating complicated and sophisticated economic landscapes to assist both parties in understanding their realistic options.
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“The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them.”
As a specialist divorce mediator for more than ten years, this quotation encapsulates the very essence of how a job, which many view as mentally and emotionally challenging, can be a highly satisfying career. Assisting parties to “uncouple” in a dignified and respectful way is extremely rewarding. Nearly 85% of my cases include children under 18 years, necessitating both a Parenting Agreement and a Financial Agreement, the terms of which are negotiated by the parties during my Two-Day, Attorney-Assisted Mediation Process. Regardless of outcome, the parties know that if they have children, their relationship will exist in some form or another forever. The likelihood of them being able to co-parent reduces significantly if they become embroiled in the adversarial process, which exists in both the U.S. and the UK.
The name itself–“adversarial system”–speaks volumes. The parents of these children become adversaries in the court system and inevitably they are polarized, making co-parenting more “wishful thinking” than a realistic option. Even in those cases where the law deems the children emancipated due to the fact they are over 18 years, such that issues of custody, child support and parenting time no longer must be considered in a legal divorce document, the fact remains that these parties are still mom and dad to those children. The parties would not wish their decision to divorce to define their children’s ability to invite both parents to future family events such as weddings, christenings, bar-mitzvahs and grandchildren’s birthdays. Perhaps the parties recognize that the alternative to resolving their issues themselves is so unpalatable that common sense prevails – which can be one reason advanced for the fact that 99% of 1,700 cases I have mediated have reached agreement.
Having been a barrister (trial attorney) in London for twelve years, a participant in a mediation and now a mediator, I am in a rather unique position, only too aware of how this process is viewed from all angles – as an attorney, client and mediator.
As Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk close their courting chapter and focus on their 2 year old daughter – Lea De Seine – what will their parting look like, for a couple who chose not to marry?
I believe while legally there may be slightly fewer challenges for Bradley and Irina due to the fact they were not married, the emotional challenges remain exactly the same. Front and center for both will be Lea. Each will feel some guilt, consciously or subconsciously, that they failed her. The cyclical questions “how is my daughter going to manage?” “Will this damage her?” “How am I going to have a relationship with this man or woman for the rest of my life?”
The real challenges for any couple whether they were living together or formally married rests on whether they have had children together. You always hope that the former couple dislike each other less than they love the child. Will unconditional love for the child save the parents from litigious destruction?
People choosing not to get married still have to agree a Parenting plan. This will include where Lea will sleep each night, vacations, holidays, decision-making on health, education, religion and extra curricular activities. They will need to each navigate the financial aspects of Lea as both parents are responsible for contributing financially to her upbringing. Of course, those with seemingly a lot less money than these A-list celebrities can be dismissive when finances are raised. However, what is forgotten is that money becomes more than a $ – it often represents blame in a relationship. Was Bradley Cooper working too hard and away from his family too much? Was the job, the fame and the money a factor in the breakup. Of course we can all speculate. Tabloids base their sales on speculation. However, I fear speculation is dangerous at best. As my mother always said “don’t judge a relationship unless you’re in it”.
This famous couple will likely choose a private and confidential process called mediation. Most States have mandated mediation for parenting plans in the hope parents will resolve their issues with the assistance of a neutral, third party and not rely on court intervention. The glamorous Hollywood duo are just as fragile, vulnerable and anxious as any other parent when considering the future of their daughter. A parent is a parent. The wisdom in choosing a non-adversarial process for people who – whether they like it or not will always be connected – is obvious. Do you really think after a battle of blame in a public setting that their future co-parenting relationship will be healthier? Of course not. Courts were never designed to manage parenting plans and those best positioned to make decisions regarding their children should be the parents. Court intervention should be a last resort. Despite over a thousand years of legal evolution the court system should be reserved for the most challenging of cases where agencies may be involved.
Mediation will allow Bradley and Irina to be the decision makers. They will determine what is in the best interests of Lea. Mediation will provide certainty of outcome so that they do not have to wait for a judge to decide at the casino (aka the court). The court system is overburdened and underfunded. Choosing a more efficient, cost effective and swifter process appears a no brainer. Most of my clients value the ability to get through a process, reach closure on conflict so that they can move on and be productive whether that be as a CEO, an athlete, a mother or just as a friend. A person’s productivity and ability to focus on other everyday tasks and responsibilities becomes that much harder in the midst of conflict. Paying for pain seems odd at best. We don’t need Goop to tell us litigation is bad for our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
Mediation has exploded in popularity as a way to resolve dissolving marriages. The War of the Roses played out in a court room is no longer the “go to” process to get a divorce. The public demanded a better alternative then becoming a file number and languishing in an overburdened and underfunded court system.
The word supermodel originated in the 1980s in the fashion world so it is no coincidence that such a term has been adopted to describe a mediation model that is tailor made. Each case is unique. Each couple is different. Each solution creative. So, a tailor-made model provides the most appropriate confidential forum. The success lies in the process as well as the mediator. The process is collaborative from the start. However, whilst the process is collaborative the attorneys remain clear advocates for their clients. Everyone in the mediation has very distinct and defined roles. The mediator runs the process, the attorneys advise as to the law and the parties make the decisions. The initial key to this process is a case management meeting. This is when the attorneys and mediator discuss the case from a 30,000 feet overview. We discuss the structure of the process and how that structure can be crafted to best serve the needs of the clients. The following are likely areas to be considered: where the parties are emotionally, processing abilities, are shorter or longer sessions needed for clients and/or attorneys, likely number of sessions, and whether mental health professionals are to be utilized at any stage in or out of the mediation room.
After discussing the needs of the case, the mediator then provides a roadmap. This meeting manages expectations and provides structure during a time that clients feel exposed and vulnerable. Regardless of how a person presents it should never be lost on the mediator that divorce is a trauma and clients are fragile. Understanding what they can expect from the process and what is expected of them lowers anxiety.
The mediator is responsible for ensuring everyone follows the roadmap but must recognize flexibility is needed at times. The mediator must have the trust of everyone in the room. To have experts in a carefully crafted supermodel process is extremely reassuring. There may be times when the people in the room are rowing in different directions but provided we can see the island we need to land on, a resolution is in sight. However, unlike a real supermodel this mediation process is not glamorous. The best one can hope for is to be able to create realistic solutions in a respectful environment with professionals who ensure any decisions are informed decisions. You however determine what those decisions will be.
Millennials are redefining the meaning of a conventional marriage – from where the ceremony takes place to their respective roles and even how they navigate marital challenges. Welcome to the new wave – “Marriage Mediation”. This is not to be confused with marriage therapy or divorce mediation. It is a hybrid. A new vehicle. Good for the environment. Costs less. Conscious investment.
Often couples struggle to find solutions to their marriage woes in therapy. Frustrated with a Freudian approach which reflects on the past rather than future solutions. Marriage Mediation offers an alternative, utilizing the services of a trained mediator neutral whose expertise is well suited to help parties create practical solutions. “This is Mediation to Stay Married”.
“Donning the Wig and Gown”
My career began at the Bar, not the liquid kind but the illustrious Legal Bar of England and Wales. After several years of donning a horse hair wig and a black gown I moved across the pond with my family and started a divorce mediation practice. The skill sets of a barrister translated well into the mediation field and the company quickly grew. A few years ago, a common theme began to emerge from my room. Feedback often took the form of a saddened lament along the way of “If only we had only known you a few years ago we may have never got to the point of divorce.” The rather disheartening comments remained with me. They made me reflect. Could I really have saved their marriages? The answer is of course no. I personally could not have saved their marriages. However, could my process have saved them or at least given them a chance?
“Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of all Wisdom” – Aristotle
As the mediator I am not responsible for the outcomes. I am there to facilitate negotiation between the couples. Collaborate with them to identify their underlying needs. These needs could be as simple as “financial security”, “appreciation”, or “respect”. Typically, couples cannot initially identify these needs. They know how they feel but cannot necessarily articulate the need. The need to be financially secure. The need to be appreciated. The need to be respected. Once the needs are identified then the parties work together with me to create a practical roadmap moving forward. This roadmap must be realistic taking into account the couples circumstances, personalities and abilities. Being able to see the true reality of a need and an action is a key to being a good mediator.
“What isn’t in Writing Does Not Exist”
The most valuable phrase I ever learnt from my Father was “What isn’t in writing doesn’t exist.” These words shaped me so profoundly they were weaved into my eulogy at his recent funeral. After each mediation I memorialize the plan of action into writing. The terms typically alternate with each person having an affirmative action. There are many well documented reasons for evidencing agreements in writing.
- Avoids misunderstandings
- Clearly identifies the terms
- Clarifies communication
- More likely to follow through
- Accountability to the other person and the process
- Provides positive momentum
- Couples buy into the process
“Actions Speak Louder than Words”
This phrase is defined in the Collins dictionary as “you mean that people’s actions share their real attitudes, rather than what they say.” This expression is sometimes used to advise a person to do something positive.” It is interesting to note that within the definition are two phrases “real attitude” and “something positive”. The former relating to truth, the second to the act of doing. The relevance of these phrases is that most couples who come in my room have complaints relating to trust and lack of follow through. Therefore, a fundamental part of Marriage Mediation that increases the chance of success is required action. The plan of positive action drives the purpose of the process and the outcome. An action can also be very specific and can often avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations often associated with the spoken word.
“Keep Your Side of the Street Clean”
By creating a “to-do” list or plan of action that the couple signs off on seeks to hold the couple accountable. The list itself must be balanced. To have one person with a shopping list of things to do and the other a mere observer feeds into the blame game mentality. A game that is often exhibited in therapy. As Dr. Les and Dr. Leslie Parrott stated in I Love You More, “The single best day in every marriage is when two parties take responsibility for their part of the pie.” Marriage Mediation is not about blame rather responsibility. Each person is responsible for their actions moving forward. Each party focuses on the here and now and how they can take affirmative action.
Many couples do not reach therapy at any stage in their struggling marriage. Therapy is seen by some for only the weak. Therefore, shock can sometimes be the immediate reaction when served with a divorce petition. No sooner has the shock subsided than anger pops up as if in a game of whack-a-mole. Marriage Mediation can address both concerns. It provides a different environment other than therapy that can appeal to most (even the narcissist) and in the event it does not work out neither party will be in shock will not be appearing and both parties are further along the emotional timeline. Acceptance that they have each tried their best makes a divorce easier. They already have rapport and trust the marriage mediator who can then guide them through the process of divorce. All avenues have been exhausted but for many, divorce may no longer be needed. Divorce should only be an option, when it is the only option.