For many people, mediation may be a word they have heard before or a concept they are vaguely familiar with; however, most people may not have engaged in a formal mediation. Mediation is a wonderful alternative to litigation that allows parties to take control of the outcome of their case. Mediation involves using a neutral third-party – a mediator – in order to reach an agreement on contested issues. The parties may elect to have their own divorce attorney attend mediation The mediator doesn’t represent either party. Mediation can be especially useful when parenting time is at issue. Divorce is never an easy process, and this is especially true when children are involved.
The separation of two parents can inevitably lead to issues regarding how they will handle parenting time and decision making for for their children. Feelings of anger, disappointment and fear may accompany the decision to separate, and these feeling could distract even the best parent from keeping the child’s best interests in mind. In mediation, the mediator can help the parents focus on crafting a creative and effective resolution appropriate for their unique circumstances.
An efficient and effective option
Using mediation during a contested parenting time case may save you time and money. Bringing a case before the court adds additional expense, lengthens the proceeding and involves a higher degree of uncertainty. You are essentially allowing a stranger to make decisions for your children and your family. With mediation, you are given the ability to take control and reach agreement with your co-parent about the family’s future. Mediation can be as creative a process as you want it to be. You may want to consult with third-party professionals to address various aspects of your case and mediation allows for this flexibility which can be more efficient and cost effective.
Set a positive tone going forward
As a parent, you will be communicating with your co-parent after your divorce is final. Because you have some control over the outcome of your divorce, conflict is less likely and this is good for you and for your children.
Although you and your co-parent have parted ways, mediation may help set the tone of your relationship going forward. Children will do better when they see their parents cooperate and communicate effectively.
Control equals greater participation in the future
Rather than having a judge decide the terms of the agreement, mediation allows you to have the final approval on any potential resolution. This encourages increased participation from both parties. Your co-parent will be more likely to meet you halfway if satisfied with the terms of the agreement since they also had an element of control over reaching the resolution. Each mediator’s style is different. Ask around and select a mediator whose approach and style are a good fit for your family.
Mediation is confidential
While litigated divorces are generally open to the public, mediation is confidential. The end agreement will become part of the court record, but what happens in the mediation itself is confidential. The mediator and other parties present may not disclose the issues discussed in the mediation.
When choosing mediation for your parenting time matter, you can expect to discuss multiple issues relating to parenting including holiday schedules, child care expenses, health insurance, decision making and many other issues that surround raising children. Though this option does not work for everyone, you may benefit from learning more about the process and whether it is right for you.