Considerations for the Mediation Process

How does Mediation work?

Mediation is a way for parties to a separation to receive assistance with communication to resolve the new issues that arise when a relationship ends. The mediator is a neutral third party in the process. Usually the mediator meets with both parties at the same time to discuss the issues that are of importance to each party. Sometimes there are separate meetings as well with the mediator and one party; whatever works best in each family situation. Each party has an idea of what problems or issues need to be resolved, but those ideas may be different. The mediator helps identify issues on which there is already agreement, then works with both parties for the best solution to those issues upon which the parties do not agree.

What kind of issues?

Each separation or divorce is unique, as is each marriage or relationship. When parents separate or divorce, they must work out how they will continue to carry out their parenting roles and responsibilities. Other issues to be resolved involve such things as child support, spousal support and division of assets and liabilities. Some of the issues involved are complicated, others are not.

Children - Moving forward

Parents who cooperate, after they separate, increase the chances that their children will have close relationships with both of them and cope successfully after the divorce. Parental conflict and lack of cooperation have a negative effect on children's adjustment after separation.

The decisions parents make now and in the future are going to affect the parties, their children and others close to the family.

The next steps

During mediation, the parties will identify the issues and look at the choices each has to resolve them. Then, with all the information, they can work together to find an answer that's right for both parties. That "right" doesn't mean one party wins and the other loses. The "right" choice might be a compromise after some give-and-take. It will, however, be one that is mutually acceptable and best for the children.

Most people are unfamiliar with the legal processes or issues that need to be determined when a couple separates or gets divorced. Going to Court to resolve disputes about separation and divorce, including issues about children, can be very stressful for the parents and children. The legal process can be lengthy, expensive and confusing. Mediation helps families during times of conflict. Mediation is an alternative to Court proceedings and is likely to save time and money in resolving the various matters that arise when a separation occurs.