Divorce mediation is about you and your soon to be ex-spouse deciding your own divorce and what is best for the both of you and most importantly, your children. In mediation, you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, and with their help, you work through the issues you need to resolve so the two of you can end your marriage as amicably and cost effective as possible. The issues covered include but at not limited to the following:
1. Distribution of Property (Assets/Liabilities)
2. Child Custody and Parenting Time
3. Child Support/Maintenance
In mediation, the couple, with the help of the mediator, works out agreements on the above issues. Sometimes agreements come easy, sometimes they take time and a lot of work. When agreements are hard to reach, that is when the mediator intervenes. It is the mediators job to keep the lines of communication open, brainstorm ideas, reality test the couple, teach empathy and assist the couple in their decision making process. Mediators help keep the couple focused on the issues at hand, trying not to get them off track. When divorcing couples get off track and away from the above issues during mediation, arguing, name-calling and bad prior memories are brought up.
Mediation is flexible and confidential. It gives you and your spouse a way to settle the conflict between you in a way that helps you to work together as parents. This is extremely important if you have children and must interact with your ex-spouse after you are divorced. Mediation brings about communication between the couple, which can then be used when they must discuss issues in pertaining to the children. Lack of communication may have been one of the main reasons for their divorce. Mediation has the ability to help the couple learn to communicate again, if only for the sake of the children, and make their post-divorce relationship better than their married one.
A divorce mediator is neutral and doesn't "work" for either parent. That means the mediator can not give advice to either party. They must remain neutral no matter what the situation. What the mediator does is assist the divorcing couple in formulating ideas that can eventually lead to agreements that will stand the test of time. That open and free exchange of information frees up both spouses to negotiate with each other in confidence. Because both spouses are working with the same base of information, it usually takes far less time to negotiate a resolution that makes sense to both spouses.
Mediation is voluntary. It continues only for so long as all three of you - you, your spouse, and the mediator -- want it to. Mediations can be conducted weekly, every two weeks, monthly or how ever often the couple wants them to be. This is their mediation and they decide everything in the process.
The Indiana Supreme Court modified the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (“IPTG”) in 2017 to include language regarding the use of a Parenting Coordinator, commonly called a “PC.”
When is a PC appropriate? The IPTG provide that, “Parenting coordination is a court ordered, child-focused dispute resolution process in which a Parenting Coordinator is appointed to assist high conflict parties by accessing and managing conflicts, redirecting the focus of the parties to the needs of the child, and educating the parties on how to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child.”
What does a PC do? The PC is appointed after a custody and parenting time order is made, as his or her role includes, “assessing the family and the litigation history; educating the parties as to the impact their behavior has on the child; facilitating conflict management; and assisting the parties in the development of parenting plans and alternative resolutions to other disputes.”
Some examples of how a PC can help your family:
A PC can help you interpret your specific parenting time order in conjunction with the IPTG, to create a parenting time calendar.
A PC can help you create a medical treatment plan for a child with a chronic illness, to ensure that medical decisions are made in a timely manner and the child’s physician’s recommendations are followed in both homes.
A PC can help you with decisions regarding extracurricular activities; how they are determined and how the costs should be divided, paid and reimbursed.
A PC can help you determine a minimum amount of time required that would trigger your "Opportunity for Additional Parenting Time".
A PC can help set appropriate expectations for step-parents' roles in a child’s life to ensure that they do not attempt to replace a parent.
Once you and your co-parent reach agreement on an issue, the parenting coordinator typically will reduce the agreement to writing and have both parents sign the agreement. The signed agreement then is forwarded to counsel for both parties – and perhaps to the Court, depending upon the specific situation. At this point, you and your co-parent can move forward, knowing that you have reached an agreement with which each of you is satisfied, and in a manner that protected your family from the stress and expense inherent in the litigation process.
Mediation to Stay Married (also known as Marital Mediation) is a mediation process for couples who are experiencing marital problems or difficulties and who would prefer to stay together, work through their issues in a constructive way, who are willing to learn to resolve conflict and who wish to avoid divorce. Mediation to Stay Married is a practical, solution oriented approach to conflict resolution in which the couple identifies, brainstorms, negotiate and problem solve their own solutions to conflict.
How does Mediation to Stay Married work?
Mediation to Stay Married does not seek to delve deeply into the past or interpersonal, psychological issues of couples (or its individual members.) Through Mediation to Stay Married, the couple can develop concrete plans or modes of action that can be helpful to address their marital conflict and issues. The couple works with a trained mediator, who uses dispute resolution techniques to help define the issues and gain understanding, discover hidden interests and creates options for breaking impasses and improving the couple's conflict resolution and interpersonal communication skills. The mediator facilitates communication among the parties wherefore the parties can independently sets goals and objectives together for mutual implementation.
What is the difference between Mediation to Stay Married and Marital Counseling?
Couples are encouraged to continue marital counseling and/ or independent counseling. Marital Mediation is not and can not take the place of counseling obtained from a license mental health provider. Counseling is performed by a mental health professional and involves therapeutic analysis and insights. Mediation to Save and Stay Married is a more practical approach to solving conflict that relies on dispute resolution techniques. The process or mediation is guided by a trained mediator however is created by the couple. The superior benefit of Mediation to Stay Married is that it teaches conflict resolution, constructive communication and a deeper understanding of their own issues and conflicts. The mediation process helps them realize their own solutions to conflict.
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