post-divorce mediation is a great option for post-decree issues like relocation, new stepparents, or medical decisions.

Post-Divorce Mediation

In the world of legal proceedings, divorce and family law cases are different than other cases. Even after the final Decree or Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage is entered by the court, many families find themselves struggling with ongoing disputes and unplanned situations not covered by the court’s order. Even in the best divorce, life still happens, and those changes can create new conflicts.  

In these cases, post-decree mediation is extremely effective by having a neutral facilitator help you and your ex-spouse work through any issues post-divorce. Mediation can allow you to preserve relationships that are already strained and challenged by the divorce process and helps establish a cooperative environment instead of a hostile environment.  

Common post-divorce issues where mediation can help include: 

– Modifications to child support when incomes, costs, or child situations change 

– Revising parenting plans and schedules as children get older 

– Resolving conflicts over children’s medical care or mental health needs 

– Relocation due to employment, or housing changes. 

– Integrating new stepparents into revised co-parenting approaches 

Child Support Modifications 

Do you have a child reaching their emancipation age or starting college? Does your court order pave a way to address these issuesHas there been a change of jobs, a big promotion, has your overtime increased, or do you or your ex get quarterly bonuses? These are all common areas where a modification of support may need to be discussed. Mediation can be a good alternative to have facilitated discussions and negotiations instead of petitioning to the court to resolve the support modification. 

Parenting Plan Revisions 

Another common need for post-decree mediation is that families simply outgrow their parenting plan. In the blink of an eye, your three-year-old is thirteen. As your kids get older their needs change and what worked when your children were little may not suit their teenage years. As activities and freedoms increase for your children, so might the need for a different co-parenting schedule. Perhaps the method or frequency of communication needs to be adjusted. Are they ready to start drivingIf so, who is paying for the car and who is covering the child on their auto insurance policy? It’s ok to give your parenting plan a revamp – no one in your family is the same person or has the same needs that they did when you created it. 

Medical, Dental, or Mental Health Needs 

Medical decisions can also be contentious areas for divorced parents. One thing that became abundantly clear during Covid, was that parents often didn’t agree when it came to their children receiving vaccinations. Whether or not to vaccinate was highly debated even within married couples, for divorced parents it was even harder. If you were divorced when your children were young, now braces may be appropriate for your child, but your court order doesn’t mention braces. Many children will struggle with mental health issues and addiction. It is not uncommon for parents to have differing opinions on how to handle these issues. How do you determine when medical intervention is necessary and when it is not? Mediation allows for both parents to voice their opinions and feelings and to devise agreements that align with their values and priorities.  

Relocation 

What do you do when you get an amazing job offer, but it is in another state? Studies show that children benefit from a strong connection and relationship with both parents. In mediation, you may be able to determine a way to allow for relocation but also prioritize the children. No one knows your family like you do, and that is where mediation shines. Creativity is encouraged in mediation, and often necessary to solve the challenges that come with relocation.  

Integrating Stepparents 

As life moves on, many people end up getting remarried as well. Now, instead of two co-parents, there may be stepparents involved. Whether actively involved or not, stepparents change the family dynamic. Mediation can allow for all parents and stepparents to work their way through conflict for the well-being of the children, which as a practitioner, can be an amazing thing to witness. By providing a neutral and inclusive environment, mediation can help to build a truly blended family.

Post-Divorce Mediation Provides Lasting Solutions

Life constantly evolves, and so do the needs of your family. Mediation provides an adaptable mechanism to revisit and modify existing divorce agreements with input from all involved parties. Through open communication and collaboration, lasting solutions can be reached smoothly without returning to an adversarial courtroom battle. 

No one understands your family’s dynamics better than you and your ex-spouse. Mediation empowers you to make well-informed, child-focused decisions that preserve family relationships and set your children up for success, even as circumstances change over time.