Before we start, what is family mediation?
Family mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution, that refers to providing a different way to resolve separation arrangements such as property, equalization of finances and parenting arrangements outside of a judge. Specifically, family mediation is where a neutral third party helps separating parents come to agreements. They are not marriage counsellors and cannot impose a decision.
So, you hired a family mediator, Now what?
It can be stressful having to work on decision-making with your former partner, and that is completely normal. We want to see you succeed and come to agreements in the fastest way possible.
Keep in mind a few critical elements when preparing for mediation:
- Understand your children’s needs based on ages and stages of development
Based on the Divorce Act updates, parents are required to act in the best interest of their children.
Being aware of your children’s needs and developing a plan that meets their needs to promote healthy development. This can look like researching what your child needs developmentally to be successful, based on your child’s age. What a 5-year-old needs will vary from what a 12-year-old needs. This information will better equip you in knowing what parenting plan agreements will best fit your children.
- Acknowledge your co-parenting strengths and weaknesses
Take some time to think about things you as a co-parent excel in, and things you want to improve on. No one is perfect, and both you and your co-parent are navigating this new change. Being aware of strengths and weaknesses will help you while in the mediation and be able to highlight where you excel.
Mediation works best when the co-parents can be honest and real with one another and recognize that they are both adapting to change.
- List what is the most important for you before mediation
Make a list of all the items that are the most important to you and think about what makes them important to you.
Within mediation, there are many things to resolve and this can become very overwhelming. Create a list of what means the most to you, such as a parenting schedule, holidays and special occasions. Having a clear plan for your goals will be helpful in positioning your key issues.
Keep in mind that your co-parent may do the same and determining the best fit for your children can be at the heart of this process.
- Think about the unique needs of your family
Every family is different, and you are the expert in what your family needs. Keep in mind what special things your family may require. This can look like sports, activities, family events, and more. Being mindful of what extra things your family may need to discuss will be beneficial in creating agreements around those items that minimize future conflict.
Keep in mind that your co-parent may have needs as well, and working together with one another’s needs will create a smooth and positive environment.
We’re here to help. Did you know Family TLC provides Family Mediation; Our team has the expertise as family professionals to help make lives better as you piece together your family’s future.
Blog posts are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice.