Mediation is an opportunity to work with a trained impartial person to structure a clear path forward for your family. It is voluntary, confidential, and lets you direct the outcome by involving skilled professionals, exploring creative avenues, and moving forward confidently and with control over the resolution.
Mediation will save both time and money if you are invested in the process. You should come to mediation prepared to share information in a confidential setting, ask the difficult questions, and be creative, exploring all options, including those that a court cannot entertain. Mediation will take some time, but if you put forth the effort, it can yield a result much faster than the court system. Because many family courts require mediation prior to scheduling a trial, it benefits you to engage in the process early, and set the tone by choosing a mediator that fits your family rather than letting a judge choose for you. Because it is voluntary, you can end the process at any time if it is not working for you.
Mediation is not simply about resolving a dispute. It is also about learning and building communication skills that will help couples in their future relationship. Marriage can be more successful if you start your union with a discussion about your expectations, finances, and marital roles. Many couples have these discussions, but some may benefit by using a third party neutral to help facilitate this conversation and assist couples in examining questions that they may have never considered. If the couple is contemplating a premarital or prenuptial agreement, mediation can be a safe space to have this discussion, generate ideas and examine expectations. A trained mediator can assist everyone in gathering and sharing information to reach everyone’s goals. While mediators cannot give advice, the mediator can help educate, and help generate creative solutions for the couple moving forward.
Disputes During Your Relationship?
While mediation is not therapy or couples counseling, it is a process that can be used during your relationship to help you bridge disputes. If small disputes are left unresolved, they can grow and debilitate your relationship. Using a trained professional, you can explore your dispute in a safe space and come to a mutual understanding on how to move forward as a productive, stronger couple.
Separating or Divorcing?
Unfortunately, if your relationship ends in separation or divorce, there are issues that must be resolved. A mediator can help you understand all of the issues, discuss options, and work towards your mutual goals to avoid costly and emotionally draining litigation.
If a couple wants to reconcile, they may need a discussion to establish new guidelines for their relationship, and manage their expectations from the outset. Having this discussion may help the couple, and the larger family, approach the next stage of their relationship with certainty and from a place of mutual understanding.
One of the most common reasons for a break-up is a couple’s inability to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. When your family grows to include children, the number of potential conflicts increases, as does the financial strain attached to having children, and the diminished resources (less time, less intimacy, changing priorities, and changing identities). A mediator can help you discuss conflicts as they arise and reach decisions that will help you co-parent in the future. Whether your parenting disputes occur while you are in an in-tact family or after your family separates, conflict has the opportunity to reach a point where it is not only impacting you, but impacting your children.
Mediation is an excellent tool for global families when that family spans multiple countries and legal systems. Global families tend to have complex situations that need creative solutions. Many courts do not have the tools or ability to craft a tailor-made solution for global families, and many legal systems do not have the ability to consider the unique situations in which many global families find themselves (frequent moves, international travel, passports, immigration, etc.) Many families have found a court order, after a several day trial, to be inadequate to address the family’s situation and future needs. Mediation can provide the space to share concerns, consider creative options, and involve other people and professionals to reach a more sustainable plan for your family in the years to come.
Blending Your Family?
If you are part of a blended family, mediation can help you work within your newly formed family structure to address critical issues, such as communication difficulties, rules and guidelines in your home, introduction of new family members, and the roles each will take in discipline and household tasks.
Online Dispute Resolution
Mediation is flexible and is a process that can be structured in any way that works best for your family. If cost, travel, schedules, or other circumstances make it difficult or impractical to meet in person, a trained mediator can skillfully work with your family to structure a process where people can participate remotely, something not always available in courts. In situations where there is a power imbalance or high emotional tensions, this distance may also provide a cooling down and a more productive level of communication, which is very important for two parents who will need to have ongoing interaction in the future if they have children.