Whether you are considering divorce or legal separation or need to negotiate a child custody issue, a professional family mediator can help.
It’s normal to experience communication challenges during a transition, and working with a family mediator can give both of you a chance to be heard, negotiate, and reach your best possible agreements.
In this guide, we’ll explain what a family mediator does and how the mediation process works. You’ll gain an understanding of the benefits of family mediation and how you can prepare for your meetings.
What is the role of a family mediator?
A family mediator is an impartial third party who helps spouses or co-parents reach agreements on divorce and custody matters.
Family mediators use communication techniques and conflict resolution strategies, along with legal knowledge, to guide you toward agreement. They do not tell you what to do. Instead, they facilitate communication, ensure that the conversation remains respectful, help you understand your options, and guide you to agreement.
Coming to an agreement is possible, and it will help both of you and your children adjust. With the help of a mediator, you can negotiate to create unique arrangements that meet your family’s unique needs.
How does family mediation work?
You and your spouse will first meet with your family mediator for a free online initial consultation, after which you’ll schedule your first mediation meeting. Your Aurit Center Certified Mediator will encourage you to share your interests and concerns — ensuring you both have a voice.
There’s no single cookie-cutter approach to mediation since no two families are the same. Your family mediator will personalize services and make sure the conversation stays on track and moves in the right direction. To best support both spouses, they will describe potential creative solutions, and the spouses will decide how they want to move forward.
The mediation process is customized based on the circumstances of your case. For example, you may reach a resolution after just one meeting. Alternatively, when you have more complex circumstances, such as ownership of multiple businesses, you may need multiple mediation sessions to cover all agreements.
During your free consultation, your expert family mediator will let you both know how many meetings they think will be needed to reach all agreements.
What can a family mediator help you with?
Family mediators can help with a wide range of family issues and conflicts. Whether you’re navigating a divorce or legal separation or need help resolving a dispute over legal custody, physical custody, or parenting time, a family mediator can help you reach mutually beneficial agreements.
Divorce mediation is one form of family mediation that is quickly becoming the #1 way people divorce. In mediation, co-parents prioritize the well-being of their children every step of the way through their divorce.
Divorce can be a challenging process, both emotionally and financially. However, with the support of a family mediator, you and your spouse will have personalized support while reaching the best possible agreements for your family.
Areas you will negotiate during divorce mediation include the following:
- The division of property: This covers all of your assets and debts. You may have a family home or business and need to decide how they’ll be shared. For example, will a residence be sold, will one spouse keep the home and “buy out” the other, or will your home continue to be jointly owned as an investment? You may also have financial debts, such as credit cards, personal loans, or mortgages, to divide.
- Spousal support: Sometimes — particularly when there is a significant pay gap between the spouses — spousal support is a topic of discussion during mediation.
- Parenting plans: If you and your spouse have children together, you will collaborate and discuss how you will co-parent successfully — both now and in the future. You will reach agreements on your parenting time schedule, educational details, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.
Legal separation mediation
Family mediation isn’t only for spouses who are going through a divorce. Different types of separation benefit from the guidance of a professional mediator.
For example, there are spouses who choose to legally separate and live apart but also desire to stay legally married due to the financial cost of divorce, their religious beliefs, or for insurance coverage or tax reasons.
Read more about the differences between legal separation and divorce.
A family mediator can also offer support for never-married parents who are going through a separation. Just like divorce mediation, this process can be the key to creating a unique and personalized parenting plan.
A detailed parenting plan addresses each topic in light of your family’s specific needs. For example, parents with babies and toddlers may need daycare arrangements, child support agreements, and visitation details included in their parenting plan. Families with teenagers, on the other hand, may have more agreements regarding schooling, living expenses, and extracurricular activities.
Modifications to existing agreements
When you come to an agreement during mediation, it’ll be based on your circumstances at the time. But what happens if things change?
Parenting plans and other agreements are not set in stone. Instead, they can be adapted as necessary — as long as the spouses agree to do so. You can schedule a modification mediation meeting with a family mediator to discuss any changes you would like made to your existing arrangement.
|A family mediator can help with:|
|✅Family issues||✅Issues with adoptive parents|
|✅Child custody situations||✅Issues with birth parents|
|✅Child access issues||✅Adult sibling conflicts|
|✅Elder care||✅Cooperative parenting relationships|
An example of a need to modify agreements might be if one parent accepts a job offer in another state. Their move will have a big impact on the parenting agreement, and your family mediator will be there to support you both as you discuss and determine potential changes necessary to update your agreements to address your changing needs.
It’s normal — particularly a few years after your divorce — for conflict to increase and miscommunication to occur. You can schedule a meeting with your Aurit Center Certified Mediator no matter where you are on your journey. They can continue to help the two of you to reach agreements as life changes occur.
What are the benefits of family mediation?
There are a number of reasons why family mediation is successful for families. Here are a few of the biggest benefits of mediation:
The mediation process is an affordable way to settle family disputes while reducing stress for everyone involved.
In a litigated court case, where attorneys are involved, court costs can rapidly increase due to court filing fees and legal representation costs. Since lawyers bill hourly, the more conflict in the case, the more they bill you. As the average hourly wage for a family lawyer in the US is more than double that of a professional mediator, a civil dispute in a family court can end up costing tens of thousands in attorney fees.
Our Aurit Center Certified Mediators offer a flat-fee approach, which makes the cost of mediation predictable and transparent. In fact, you’ll pay up to 90% less than you would in divorce litigation. To support your financial security, we offer a free one-hour online consultation, an all-inclusive flat rate, and payment plans.
It saves time
During a transition, it’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions. This can make navigating this process on your own seem overwhelming, and ongoing conflict can cause unnecessary friction.
With the help of a family mediator, you will reach agreements and create a plan that works best for both of you and your children. These personalized agreements will continue to support your co-parenting relationship now and into the future.
While litigation can be a long journey, taking a year or more to resolve, mediation typically takes only 2–4 months. Most spouses can reach all agreements in one or two meetings.
Mediation takes a collaborative, more peaceful approach that focuses on finding a solution that both spouses find acceptable.
It offers flexibility
Clients appreciate the flexibility that the online mediation process offers. You can choose meeting times that suit you and attend from wherever is most convenient for each of you. A court process requires mandated in-person court hearings and appearances that interfere with work schedules and oftentimes cannot be adjusted.
Mediation allows you to negotiate and create solutions that protect the best interests of your children and yourselves while staying in control of the terms of your divorce.
In court, a judge will make the final decision for you, and it’s not uncommon for both spouses to walk away dissatisfied with the terms that a judge made for them.
It has a high rate of success
Regardless of the love that parents have for their children and their desire to have a more peaceful process, coming to an agreement isn’t always easy.
During mediation, family mediators don’t take sides. This means you’ll both get the support you need from an experienced professional who will be there to guide you toward mutually satisfying arrangements.
While divorce mediation has a high success rate, with up to 80% of cases resolved during the meetings, The Aurit Center exceeds this average with a mediation success rate of over 95%.
For more information, read our guide on the advantages of mediation over litigation.
How to prepare for family mediation
Before beginning mediation, think about what you want. Remember that you both are choosing a healthier path to protect your — and your children’s — best interests.
Try to keep your co–parent’s best interests in mind when reaching agreements — after all, you would like the same respect from them. For example, you may want your children to live with you during the week and on alternating weekends. To make this plan more agreeable for your co-parent, you may be prepared to give them extra time with the kids after school.
Keep in mind that you may want to arrange a babysitter for your mediation meeting times. If that isn’t possible, you can do your best to keep your kids occupied as you attend your online meeting — and ensure they can’t listen in. If necessary, your mediator will support you in taking breaks to attend to your kids.
Having an open mind and trying to understand your spouse’s point of view can help you reach amicable outcomes more quickly. It’s not always easy, but an experienced family mediator will guide you every step of the way.
Family mediation puts you in the driver’s seat
Working with a family mediator lets you come to an agreement in a safe and supportive environment — and without the stress of a lengthy court battle.
Mediation is also a less expensive solution than litigation, with a typically quicker resolution. Plus, you’ll be the one making decisions for your family — and not a judge.
It is very helpful to keep an open mind and to consider your goals before you attend your first meeting.
Your experienced Aurit Center Certified Mediator will help you navigate the process and support you through divorce, legal separation, parenting, and/or modification mediation.
Ready to move forward and put a parenting plan into action without having to go to court? If so, then family mediation may be the best solution for you. Contact us for a free consultation