If you are having problems with the decisions that were reached during your divorce, this is a simple, cost effective way to resolve the issues and help bring your life back to balance.

Post Decree Divorce Mediation

POST-DECREE DIVORCE AGREEMENTS

Pre-decree divorce mediation is an attempt to encourage the couple into working out reasonable compromises about their financial settlement and custody arrangements. Post divorce mediation is also designed to encourage compromise, but focuses mainly on the parental responsibilities of the parties, and is intended to maximize the potential for healthy emotional development of the children.

Our lives are always changing, especially if we are parents. However, parents facing divorce generally make divorce agreements based upon their lives at the moment, taking into account: where they live, work schedules, their lifestyles, how old their children are etc... Clearly, any one of these dynamics may change, and as your children grow older, it is a safe bet that their needs will be one of those that change.

Parenting under the best of circumstances is difficult; divorced parents face extra challenges, as we all know. During a divorce, they often get caught up in focusing on who is right and who is wrong. This is a natural reaction; but it makes it very difficult for parents to work through their concerns together.

Common problems parents face after their divorce is finalized are:

 One parent has changed jobs or residences making the previous parenting agreement ineffective

 One parent has a new partner, possibly other children are now involved

 One or more of the children is now dealing with poor grades, disciplinary problems, depression, health concerns, etc...

 The children are older and the old parenting schedule isn't fitting into their activities and growing independence

 There are teenagers in the family now... They are challenging every guideline set by parents. If the two households have different sets of guidelines then it is even harder to parent effectively

 Parents are having problems over money. They need to work out child support concerns, paying for their children's extracurricular activities, medical bills etc.

 Parents are too close to the situation to think of ways to work out their conflicts.

 Parents are letting their personal feelings for each other interfere with their ability to "work together"

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A POST-DECREE MEDIATION?

Mediation sessions are informal but structured discussions guided by the mediator. Both parties are given the opportunity to speak without interruption, describing their view of the current issues for possible modification. The mediator structures the discussions to help clarify the issues and move toward an agreement. Family Strategies Counseling and Mediation recommends that the parties separately consult with attorneys of their choice for legal advice regarding any issues addressed at the mediation. Witnesses and attorneys generally do not attend mediation sessions.

OVERVIEW OF A POST-DECREE MEDIATION:

1. Joint sessions to discuss and resolve issues - Typically, a series of joint meetings are held at times and locations agreed to by the parties. Issues are identified and discussed, narrowed and resolved based on legal, financial and other information. The number of sessions will depend on the needs of the individual parties. Financial and other information may need to be gathered.

2. Develop a draft of a Revised Order - After the parties have reached agreement in principle on all of their issues, the mediator prepares a Memorandum of Understanding detailing all issues.

3. Review Order - Both parties may submit the draft order to their respective legal and financial counsel for independent review. Proposed changes, if any, are jointly discussed and changes incorporated into the final form. Divorce Mediation and Family Strategies recommends that the parties consult with attorneys of their choice to advise them regarding any legal issues addressed at the mediation.

4. Finalize and file Order - The final order is prepared and all associated legal documents are prepared and filed by the respected legal counsel of the parties. This order is entered and recorded.

WHAT TYPES OF ISSUES CAN BE ADDRESSED DURING POST-DECREE MEDIATION?

Most Issues that are important to the parties can be addressed, including:

 Time Schedules with Children

 Parenting Issues

 Spousal Support

 Child Support

 Financial Issues

The custody arrangement may award primary physical custody to one parent, with visitation for the other parent, or it may divide physical custody between the parents. Shared physical custody assumes that each parent will take responsibility for major developmental tasks during child development, including academic performance, moral education, life planning and health maintenance. Post divorce parental mediation is designed to assist parents in achieving these goals.

Changes in circumstances may cause a party to request a modification of a Final Judgment of Dissolution. Mediation is appropriate for addressing these changes that occur relative to child custody and visitation, child support, and/or spousal support.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF POST-DECREE MEDIATION?

Mediation provides a unique opportunity to develop mutually acceptable outcomes tailored to the individual clients:

 Convenient

 Cost effective

 Less Stressful

 Confidential

 Non-adversarial

 Informal

 No Court Appearances (depends on the state)

WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MEDIATION?

The parties should bring a copy of any existing orders, Final Judgment, and the Memorandum of Understanding (if the divorce was mediated). During the first meeting the mediator will work with the parties to determine what information will be needed for further sessions, such as personal income and expenses.

Family Strategies

Counseling and Mediation