A divorce can cause uncertainty for the entire family. Click here for a guide to navigating divorce and co-parenting with family mediation.
A CDC report revealed that about 690,000 couples went through a divorce in just one year. That’s about half the number of newly wedded couples in the country. And it doesn’t mean that the union ended without any disagreement.
Handling a divorce, especially with children involved, can be daunting. It’s because it may involve child custody, child support, and property division. Luckily, there is an alternative to the traditional adversarial court system known as family mediation.
With this system, a neutral third party helps divorcing couples reach agreements. The mediator helps the couple communicate and negotiate with each other. Learn more about how you can navigate a divorce with this process below:
Understanding Family Mediation and Co-Parenting
In a family mediation, a neutral third party helps separating partners reach agreements on their own terms. The mediator is a bridge between the two individuals. They allow both partners to communicate without having to go through a costly and emotional court battle.
The mediator gathers information from both partners about relevant aspects of their relationship. They then help the couple identify and focus on the key issues they need to address. These issues may include child custody, child support, and property division.
Once both parties identify these issues, the mediator helps them find solutions for each issue. As they do this, they consider the couple’s needs and priorities. The final step in mediation is to reach an agreement and document it as a legally binding contract.
In a co-parenting arrangement, two parents work together to raise their children. But they no longer have romantic ties. The process helps them share parenting responsibilities.
These responsibilities include:
- Daily care
The co-parents may also make decisions and handle the emotional well-being of the kids.
Discover the Benefits of Family Mediation for Co-Parenting
Family mediation can help to reduce conflict and stress between parents. It’s because it offers a neutral forum for communication and negotiation. As a result, it can improve the relationship between the parents and make it easier for them to co-parent.
The process focuses on the best interests of the children. As such, it can help the parents to develop co-parenting strategies that can meet the needs of the children. Parents also have more control over the outcome of their divorce settlement.
Family mediation services are often less expensive than traditional divorce litigation. It’s a more streamlined process and doesn’t need attorneys. The agreements reached are more likely to be sustainable and adhered to since they result from a collaborative process.
Mediation empowers parents to create their own solutions. It can lead to a greater sense of ownership and commitment to the parenting plan. Mediation also helps prevent future disputes and provides stability for the children.
How to Navigate Co-Parenting Challenges with Family Mediation
After getting divorced, co-parenting can be tough. It often involves disagreements about who cares for the kids, who pays for what, and how to raise them. Family mediation can help smooth out these bumps in the road as follows:
Address Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements
Mediation allows parents to work together and talk freely. It helps reduce stress and tension for both parents and kids. Parents can actively decide how they will share custody and visitation.
You may reach an agreement tailored to your family’s needs in a mediation. The agreements can also change as circumstances change. Either way, the mediator will help you explore the options for custody arrangements.
The child’s age, maturity level, and developmental needs are important in this process. The mediator will also look at special circumstances that may affect custody arrangements. They can use this information to develop a visitation schedule and parenting agreement.
Establish a Parenting Plan Outlining Parental Roles and Responsibilities
Parents can discuss their concerns and preferences on child-rearing in a family mediation. During the process, the mediator acts as a facilitator. They ensure the parents have an equal voice and help them communicate.
The mediator encourages parents to consider the child’s needs when making decisions. They also help parents define their roles and responsibilities in raising their children. As a result, you can identify a common ground and find compromises that work for you.
Once you finally reach an agreement, the mediator will help you draft a written parenting plan. The plan outlines all parenting arrangements. It also offers a roadmap that you can follow.
Determine Child Support
Various factors will help determine child support and other financial obligations. These factors include the child’s needs and parents’ income and expenses. The children’s number, ages, and special needs also matter in this process.
Your income, expenses, and children’s needs are crucial in the process. The information may include tax returns, pay stubs, medical bills, and school records. Afterward, the mediator will help you explore different options for child support.
These options may include calculation methods, payment schedules, and tax considerations. Either way, the mediator will help you negotiate a fair and workable agreement. The agreement will specify the child support amount, payment frequency, and any other relevant details.
Resolve Disputes Related to Child Care
After filing for divorce, you and your partner may disagree on many things. You may not agree on your children’s education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities. These disagreements can be stressful and can lead to conflict.
Luckily, you can turn to a family mediator to help resolve these disputes. The mediator will look at your child’s age and developmental needs. They’ll also consider the child’s academic performance and medical needs to solve the dispute.
The parent’s financial resources and work schedules also matter in the process. Mediators help the parents review the long-term effects of their decisions. They will also clearly define the financial responsibilities for these activities.
Need Family Mediation Services?
Divorce can be a very difficult, time-consuming, and emotional experience for everyone involved. If you are considering divorce, it is important to understand your rights and options. One option for resolving divorce issues is family mediation.
At Johnson/Turner Legal, we understand the complexities legal matters can bring. We can help you with divorce, estate planning, family law, elder law, bankruptcy, and probate at a flat fee. Book a quick guidance call today to find solutions that align with your goals.