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Why Mediate?

Many people dread the emotional and financial cost of going to trial. Fortunately, there are other options. One of the best options is mediation. Mediation is less costly emotionally and, often, financially. Clark Law Office offers the services of a certified mediator, who has both training and experience.

In mediation, the different sides to a dispute meet with a neutral person who has no stake in the case–the mediator. The mediator’s goal is to help the sides resolve their differences. Because it is a confidential process and is less formal than a court hearing, the parties can focus on their most important issues.

Some use mediation one time. Some people use mediation throughout the entire court process, returning to it periodically, as needed, until they have resolved all issues. Some people participate in mediation to begin sorting through their difficulties before they even file court documents.

Mediation can be used to resolve almost any divorce-related issue, including:

    • Issues regarding children, including: timesharing scheduling; relocation issues; private school and college expenses; child support; communication between parents about child issues; telephone calls; legal and physical custody, both temporary and permanent; final decision-making ability; timesharing for grandparents; tax credits; medical expenses and health insurance; and how problems regarding children will be resolved in the future.
    • Financial and property issues, including: how to divide personal property (this is a big one the Courts do not want to rule on); cars–changing titles, handling remaining debt balances; stocks and bonds; bank accounts; life insurance policies; priority tickets (like UK basketball or football tickets); what to do about a family business; what to do about a family home and other real estate; how tax returns will be filed– especially pertaining to tax exemptions when there are children; maintenance–whether the people agree to it, how often and for how long; and how to divide retirement benefits.

Mediation can be helpful at any stage of the divorce process, or even after the divorce as issues arise.

Mediation is just as helpful for people who have never been married but have family law issues to resolve, such as child custody, timesharing and child support.

Mediation can also be a very useful tool in the probate process to resolve disputes over estates after a loved one passes on.

Mediation can save the parties a great deal of money and hardship.

Mediation can also be a very useful tool in any civil litigation matter.

The possibilities are truly endless. Virtually any issue upon which the parties cannot agree can potentially be resolved through mediation.

Parenting Coordination

The reality is that most issues that arise between parents about their children are not legal issues.  Instead, they are parenting issues: whether a child will take a particular medication, what timesharing schedule is best for the children, where the children will attend school, what activities the children will participate in, what church a child attends.  As a result, the judge is often not the best person to resolve their disputes.  Instead, the parents, who know their children better than anyone should.  Also, quite frankly, judges do not want to see parties in Court every week, asking the judges to solve the parents’ problems for them.  Parents who have not split up routinely resolve their differences with no help from anyone.  Also, judges do not want parents to become dependent on the Courts or use the Court as a crutch to solve their problems for them.

There are other alternatives.  One of the best alternatives is to use a parenting coordinator.  A parenting coordinator is a professional, sometimes a therapist, sometimes a lawyer, who is well versed in how the family courts work.  They are familiar with how the judges might rule. They also are trained to help couples navigate speed bumps as they co-parent their children.  Parents who are try to avoid court meet with the parenting coordinator they select.  It might be just once; it might be several times. It might be periodically over several years, as problems arise.  The goal is to avoid bringing the Court into the mix (unless absolutely necessary).

If the parties reach an agreement on the issues they have been stuck on, the parenting coordinator can put this in writing, and with the permission of the parties, file the resolution in the Court record as evidence of what the parties agreed on.  The parents can decide that it will be treated as a legal agreement.

In many cases, what lies beneath the inability to resolve the differences that arise is poor communication skills.  A parenting coordinator can help the parents work to improve those skills, so the parents reduce their need for outside help to resolve their own problems.

Clark Law Office offers parenting coordination services to parents who want to co-parent their children, but need some help communicating effectively.

WHAT CAN I ACHIEVE THROUGH PARENTING COORDINATION?

The following describes a bit more about the parenting coordination process, namely the goals and well as just some of the types of issues that can be addressed.

GOALS OF PARENTING COORDINATION

  1. To promote a cooperative relationship between parents on behalf of their child.
  2. Educate parents regarding the impact of their behaviors on their child(ren)’s development.
  3. Reduce parental conflict through anger management, communication and conflict resolutions skills.
  4. Decrease inappropriate parental behaviors to reduce stress for the child(ren).
  5. Diminish the child(ren)’s sense of loyalty binds.
  6. Help parents identify their contribution to conflict while increasing impulse control.
  7. Encourage both parents to maintain an ongoing relationship with their child(ren).
  8. Work with parents in developing a detailed plan for issues such as discipline, decision-making, communication, etc.
  9. Create a more relaxed home atmosphere allowing the child(ren) to adjust more effectively with the new family structure.
  10. Collaborate with professionals involved with the family in order to offer coordinated services.

TYPES OF ISSUES THAT CAN BE RESOLVED

The following are a few examples of the types of issues that can potentially be resolved during the parenting coordination process:

  1. communication between the parties;
  2. transportation and transfers of children between parents;
  3. alterations in the parenting schedule, so long as the basic timesharing arrangement is not changed;
  4. vacations and holidays: schedules and implementation;
  5. daily routines;
  6. extracurricular and school activities and recreation;
  7. discipline;
  8. child care/day care/babysitting issues; and
  9. Resources for either parent such as, but not limited to, psychotherapy and termination of same, substance abuse and domestic violence treatment and/or counseling, drug and alcohol screens and parenting classes, participation by significant others, relatives, etc. in parenting time.

We help clients everyday to overcome life's most difficult experiences.

Reach out today and call us at (859) 219-1280 to ask for our help.

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