Why choose mediation when children are involved?

When parties have children divorce is not the end of the parties’ relationship.  Although the dynamics of the relationship change, the mother, father, and children typically still interact with each other on a regular basis.  According to experts, one of the best things parents can do for their children after divorce is to maintain a civil relationship, which allows them to cooperatively parent and attend important family celebrations and events without conflict.  We believe a cooperative and civil divorce process will best enable co-parenting between the parties in the future.

Divorce can be overwhelming for couples and their families.  Because you are separating two lives and often making provisions for the children of the marriage you are forced to deal with numerous issues that are foreign to you.  The process typically leaves people stressed, frustrated, angry, sad, upset, or all of the above.

Mediation in divorce and family law helps couples focus on positive communication and solutions.  If couples don’t have children mediation can minimize hostility and allow the parties to maintain relationships with former in-laws and mutual friends.  For couples with children mediation helps the parents focus on the best interests of the children and forms the framework for peaceful co-parenting.  Research has shown that mediation has a much more positive effect on relationships than litigation and it increases parents’ understanding of their children’s needs.

When couples go through divorce they often receive enormous amounts of advice from family and friends.  Loved ones may encourage litigation because they believe it will best protect your interests.  Parties may have heard of other couples divorcing and the horror stories associated with those separations.  Couples should explore all the options available and choose the resolution strategy that will work best for them.

Arguably divorce law in Washington is somewhat predictable.  Given the judges’ discretion we can help parties look at the issues that can be addressed in mediation and determine whether pursuing litigation or mediation is the better option for them.

 Mediation in family law can help parties address:

  • Practical and financial aspects of the division of the couple’s property.
  • The ramifications of community property in dividing debts and assets.
  • Parenting issues.
  • Parenting plans that ease transition and maximize quality time with the children.
  • Financial planning for the children’s needs.
  • Costs associated with children’s current needs and activities, travel, and school expenses.
  • Financial planning for children’s future needs such as college and marriage.
  • The need for prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
  • The differences between filing for legal separation versus dissolution.
  • How to determine child support and/or how to modify a child support order.