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 they will share common space, arrange parenting schedules, manage finances, and transition to separate households gives them a deeper sense of security so that they can focus, with less anxiety, on the major tasks related to their uncoupling.
What to Expect
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.
Additionally, if there are minor children from the relationship, the parents will need to:
- Establish the amount of child support; and
- Create a parenting plan.
Transforming Conflict also offers services to help families address post-divorce issues, thereby ensuring smoother transitions and stronger co-parenting relationships.
As the circumstances of parents and children change after a divorce, the parties may need to revisit their parenting agreements or arrangements for child support or maintenance. These circumstances may include a change in a parent’s employment and earning power, a transition from stay-at-home parent to full-time employment, and the changing needs of children.
Parents have an opportunity to express their feelings and concerns about a proposed move as they work out ways to mitigate the child’s loss of contact with his or her parent.
Other post-divorce issues
Sessions can include discussions about such issues as differences in child-rearing practices; competing needs for boundaries; concern about the other parent’s new partner; and the difficulties of adjusting to being part of a new blended “step”-family.