Divorce & Post-Divorce Mediation
When a couple decides to end their legal relationship they have an opportunity to engage in a non-adversarial process to resolve issues related to the dissolution of their divorce or partnership. Mediation, unlike litigation, allows couples to make their own decisions and to reach fair and amicable agreements based on what is best for their family. During this time, when working together may be challenging, Mediation Partners New England (MPNE) provides a mediation structure that focuses on solutions rather than blame.
It is not uncommon for divorced couples to return to mediation in response to changing post-divorce circumstances. For this reason, we believe that agreements should be built on the anticipation that unpredictable changes may occur in the future. Our goal is to support clients in creating a divorce agreement that will give them a road map for the future and that can handle change without their reliving the anxieties of the divorce.
Value and Benefits
There are multiple benefits to using a mediator for decisions around financial issues, child support, parental rights and responsibilities, and parent/child contact issues. An MPNE mediator with specialized training in divorce and post-divorce issues:
- Is a neutral third party who will provide guidance and organize candid and respectful discussions;
- Is a professional educated in helping couples with differing views to discuss sensitive issues and arrive at a way to move forward;
- Is sensitive to related topics such as child custody, child support, parental visitation, spousal support, and division of property.
- Has put together a cadre of specialists that the couple can consult such as family therapists, tax consultants, estate attorneys, and certified financial planners.
You can anticipate many positive outcomes from using mediation services to sort out your divorce and post-divorce issues:
- With mediation, you control the issues that affect your lives.
- Mediation reduces conflict and thereby the tension so destructive to you and your loved ones.
- It is less time consuming, letting you get on with your life.
- It is less costly than litigation.
- It helps the two of you work together, despite your strong emotions.
- With the help of the mediator, you negotiate your own settlement and learn techniques for resolving future differences.
- Agreements settled in mediation have been found more sustainable over time than those decided by a judge.
Frank and Anne decided to separate and divorce after their youngest child started college in September. During their thirty-year marriage, Frank provided for the family financially and Anne worked part-time while raising the children and managing the household. Anne left her professional job twenty five years ago and is very concerned about how she is going to manage financially after they divorce. Her income is modest and she only has $25,000 in her IRA fund. Anne is hoping she will receive spousal support.
Frank has been contributing to his retirement plan for twenty-five years and is planning to retire in ten years. He currently has over $500,000 in his 401K fund and plans to live off this fund when he retires. He is eager to sell the family home despite his wife’s desire to keep the house. They are coming to mediation to discuss the division of marital assets.
Mike and Beth have decided to divorce and have three young children. A family therapist suggested that they work with a mediator to sort out issues such as where the children will live, how and when the children will see each parent, and how to make important decisions such as schooling, healthcare, and religion.
Beth feels that their children need a home base and doesn’t feel joint custody is in the best interest of the children. Mike grew up without a father figure and is committed to being a part of his children’s daily life. They have not been able to discuss issues regarding the children and are hoping that a mediator will help them navigate these emotionally charged conversations.
Ellen and Sam divorced five years ago and have come back to mediation because Sarah, their fifteen-year-old daughter, wants to change the parent-child contact schedule. Sarah currently spends the school year with Ellen and summer with Sam because they live in different states. This arrangement worked well when Sarah was younger but now she complains about leaving her friends and part-time job to live with her father. She is also upset about Sam’s recent marriage to a woman with two young children.
Sam is concerned about Sarah because her grades have slipped and she was recently caught drinking at a school dance. He is angry at Ellen and wants to talk about having Sarah spend the school year with him.