How does Mediation work for families?
WE FOCUS ON YOUR CHILD’S NEEDS
We want our children to thrive — to grow, to learn, to have positive and continuing relationships with each of their parents, to feel the love of family, to have friendships, to dream for their future, and so much more. When we mediate parenting issues, we focus on your child. Who is she? What does he enjoy? What does she need? Every child is unique. In mediation we work to create parenting arrangements for your child that take into account who your child is and what they need to thrive.
Mediation gives parents the opportunity to create plans and schedules for their child that work for their individual and unique needs. Children benefit tremendously when their parents work together to create parenting arrangements that focus on their child’s needs.
In mediation, we also focus on the job of parents. Parents serve the needs of their children best when they work together as a team. Mediation can help parents develop a more cooperative working relationship with each other as co-parents of their children. Your relationship with your child’s other parent is a vital relationship for your child. You will be in each other’s lives forever as parents of the same child. The more cooperative that co-parenting relationship is, the better for your child. Parents who have continuing conflict between each other can negatively impact their children now and far into their future. In mediation, we focus on developing and supporting a more cooperative relationship for parents so their children can thrive.
Parents may turn to mediation to address their parenting issues at various times:
When families are in transition because of the separation or divorce of parents, many decisions need to be made so that the changes that are occurring can work for everyone, especially for the children. Using mediation to work through these issues can be especially useful because in mediation parents can focus on the needs of their children. Parents who are divorcing need to create parenting arrangements for their children which include decision-making and communication processes, parenting time schedules, and financial support for the care of their children.
NEVER MARRIED PARENTS
If parents who have never been married are separating, they may also desire to create formal parenting plans for their children which include decision-making and communication processes, parenting time schedules, and financial support provisions for the care of their children. Some never married parents prefer to create informal parenting arrangements for their children which cover only the parenting issues they find most important. Mediation provides never married parents the opportunity to decide which approach works for them.
ON-GOING ISSUES OR CONFLICTS
Sometimes parents have on-going issues or conflicts with each other regarding their existing parenting plan and find mediation to be a useful forum to work though those issues in a constructive way. Whether the issue is parenting time, communication, transportation, extra-curricular activities or something else, some parents just need the opportunity to talk through these issues with the assistance of a neutral mediator who can guide the conversation.
Parents sometimes want to mediate possible changes to their existing parenting plan. The needs of children can change over time, parents move, financial situations change, and sometimes parents need to resolve issues related to these changing circumstances. Mediation provides parents a useful way to address these changes in the lives of their children and themselves.
As the mediation progresses, the Mediator prepares a Mediation Parenting Plan Summary of Understanding to reflect the agreements reached by the parties in mediation.
Parties seeking a divorce or wanting to create a binding and enforceable parenting plan or modify one, will need to have their mediated agreement (along with certain other legal documents) submitted to the Court for the judge to review and approve. An attorney can help you do this as a stipulated agreement.