Resolving Issues After Divorce Through Mediation
Once a divorce is over, one of the many feelings a person feels is relief that the long, difficult and emotional process is finished. However, even long after a divorce is finalized, circumstances can still come up that require you and your spouse to revisit the terms of the divorce. These issues usually arise as the result of a change in circumstances, such as:
A change in your job or income.
A change in health insurance coverage.
A change in your child’s education.
An illness or other change in the medical needs of you or your child.
A change in you or your spouse’s marital status.
Changes to the divorce agreement often have to be approved by the court. While changes can be made through traditional litigation, post divorce mediation is a quicker, less expensive, and more cooperative process that can help you and your spouse reach a mutually beneficial new agreement.
What Issues Can Be Resolved With Post Divorce Mediation?
Post divorce mediation can address any of the points that were decided on during the original divorce that now need to be adjusted due to a change in circumstances for either spouse or the couple’s children, including:
Child Support Modification. Child support arrangements can be changed after a divorce if there is a change in one spouse’s income or the needs of the child. Mediation can help you and your spouse discuss the issue and come to a decision that is in the child’s best interest.
Child Custody Modification. Child custody arrangements may need to change as time goes on, for example if one parent is planning to relocate or there is a serious issue with the current arrangement.
Alimony Changes. Alimony, or spousal support, can be modified after the divorce if circumstances change for one or both spouses. For example, the receiving spouse might get remarried or no longer need the support.
Modifying Parenting Time Agreements. Parenting time agreements, also called visitation, come in many forms. There is supervised and unsupervised parenting time, and a wide range of schedules that the parents may follow. For example the child can alternate spending one week at a time with each parent, or more. Depending on the family’s schedule and the needs of the child, the couple may want to alter the parenting time schedule through mediation.
Relocating to Another State With a Child. As mentioned above, parent relocation is a complicated issue in child custody. The courts will typically examine the reasons for the move and whether it is in the best interest of the child. Mediation gives the couple a chance to weigh this important decision themselves.
Allocating College Costs. Couples often seek mediation to decide who will contribute what to their child’s education, including tuition, books, room & board, transportation, and other issues.
Benefits of Mediation for Post Divorce Issues
For post divorce issues that need to be addressed, mediation has several benefits over a typical court proceeding, including:
Time. Traditional court proceedings for post divorce changes can end up taking a long time, whereas mediation is a much quicker process. Usually, the more in agreement the couple is about the changes that need to be made, the quicker the mediation will be.
Expense. Because mediation is faster, requires only one mediator instead of two attorneys, and usually does not involve retainer fees, it is a considerably cheaper option for post divorce proceedings.
Atmosphere. Mediation encourages peaceful and cooperative resolution, and makes changing a divorce agreement a much more positive and less adversarial process that will be easier on your, your spouse, and your children.