Mediation minimizes the hostility and misunderstandings that couples experience when ending a marriage or other committed relationship. When there are minor or dependent children, divorce mediation can help build a foundation for a healthy co-parenting relationship.
Divorce mediation also gives separating couples a sense of control at a time when they are feeling great anxiety and disorientation. It diffuses their fears by creating a non-threatening structure for making important decisions about their future separate lives.
The initial mediation sessions for divorce or relationship dissolution provide an opportunity for couples to address short-term issues that, left unresolved, merely add to their stress. Deciding how their will share responsibility common space, arrange parenting schedules, manage finances, and transition to separate households gives them a deeper sense of security so that they can focus on the larger and more final tasks that will enable a smooth uncoupling.
In a series of two-hour mediation sessions, divorcing and separating couples are guided through conversations and assignments about:
- Post-divorce or post-separation living expenses;
- Disposition of the family residence;
- Dividing community assets;
- Allocating responsibility for community debts; and
- Determining spousal maintenance.
If there are minor children from the relationship, the parents will need to:
- Establish the amount of child support; and
- Create a parenting plan.