By Starrla Cray
HOWARD LAKE, MN Kent Peterson plans to open a part-time satellite office of his business, Mediation One, at the Security State Bank of Howard Lake Monday, Feb. 1.
Since 2005, Peterson has been helping couples come to peaceful divorce agreements from his main office in Wayzata.
“I wanted to open an office in Howard Lake to serve clients who live farther away from the west metro,” Peterson said.
The Howard Lake office will be open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Friday.
Monday through Thursday evenings, Peterson will also be available for visits at the Howard Lake office until 7 p.m. by appointment.
Peterson has more than 30 years of experience in mediation, finance, banking, real estate, insurance and investments. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), and offers clients a “financial picture” of their future, as well as help and guidance during the divorce process.
“I have a very unique business,” said Peterson, who focuses on keeping family relationships intact during a divorce, especially when children are involved.
“I got started doing this after I, unfortunately, went through a divorce myself,” Peterson said. “I was able to maintain a good relationship with my children and my ex-wife.”
As a mediator, Peterson helps divorcing couples end their relationships in a fair and affordable way.
“Attorneys are trained to support one spouse over another,” he said. At Mediation One, however, Peterson works to ensure that both couples are satisfied with the agreement.
“I let the clients design their own settlements. That way, they are more likely to stay with it,” Peterson said.
Many people might expect a divorce mediation session to be serious and stressful, but Peterson’s services are different.
“There’s a lot of laughter that comes out of my mediation sessions,” he said.
Many of Peterson’s clients actually become better friends during the mediation.
“They start to work together, maybe for the first time in years,” he said. Peterson said he even saw one couple kiss each other on the sidewalk after leaving his office.
Mediation is a skill that comes naturally for Peterson.
“I come from a family of six children,” he laughed.
Family and friends often come to Peterson when they are having a disagreement.
“I’ve always been the one people look to for a middle ground,” Peterson said. “I think I have a natural talent for bringing people together and finding answers. I’m kind of a peacemaker.”
Peterson said that he’s never happy about a couple getting a divorce, but if they’ve already made that decision, he strives to make the best of the situation.
“Divorce isn’t the end of their family,” he said. “Their family is just changing.”
When children are involved, Peterson helps the divorcing couple develop a flexible parenting plan, so that children can continue to have a close relationship with each parent.
Mediation One also helps couples divide their debt and assets fairly. Peterson works with each person to plan out an individual budget.
Peterson’s company facilitates the entire divorce process, including mediation, a drafted agreement, legal document preparation, and document submission to court.
“I enjoy coming to work every day, and I really feel good about what I do for people,” Peterson said.
More about Peterson
Peterson and his wife, Connie, have a home northwest of Waverly.
Peterson grew up in the tip of northwest Minnesota, in between Lancaster and Hallock.
“I’m almost a Canadian,” Peterson said.
Connie was raised in central North Dakota.
“We both grew up on farms,” Peterson said, adding that he farmed as an adult for a few years, as well.
Before opening Mediation One, Peterson also served four years in the US Navy as a naval hospital corpsman (medic).
Peterson attended both the University of North Dakota and Oregon State University.
He also received training at the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts in Michigan, and is registered with the Supreme Court of Minnesota as a qualified neutral under rule 114 of the MN General Rules of Practice.
For more information about Mediation One, contact Peterson at (952) 937-8300, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.divorcemediationmn.com.