The purpose of family mediation is to resolve any issues that families are facing during a divorce.
While divorce attorneys handle the legal side of things, family mediators are more concerned about the emotional well-being of the parents, and more importantly, the kids.
Children experience tremendous emotional turmoil during a divorce. They feel like their family is being ripped apart, they’re worried about the impact the divorce will have on their relationship with their parents, and they often blame themselves for the separation.
Children experience shock and struggle with uncertainty, helplessness, and anger in the wake of a divorce. Their inability to process and understand the situation causes them to either act out or withdraw from the family.
A family mediator serves as a counselor for the entire family.
Here’s what the family mediation process entails:
1. Initial Contact with Both Parties
In the US, divorcing families are referred to family mediators to help them resolve any issues they’re having. Referrals usually come from the lawyer’s office, who provides the mediator with both parties’ contact details and a brief on why they feel the family could benefit from mediation.
2. Meeting with the Family Mediator
It’s important to understand that the family mediator will work on behalf of the family, meaning they have both parties’ interests in mind.
After the referral, they’ll set up separate appointments with each party to get an idea of what the family is dealing with, and whether both parties are willing to go through with the mediation process.
If the mediator concludes that mediation isn’t suitable for the family or if one family isn’t want to be a part of it, they’ll give the other party a C100 form for their children or a financial application, so the case can be taken to court.
3. Joint Mediation
In case both parties have agreed to move forward with the mediation process, the mediator will organize a joint mediation session.
Before the session, the mediator will send a package to both parties that will have the following documents:
- Agreement to mediate
- Client engagement letter
- Financial disclosure booklet (only in cases with financial issues)
- Funding agreement
In the joint session, the parties are expected to share their views openly and the outcomes they desire.
It’s the mediator’s job to present both parties with viable options. The purpose of the joint session is to come up with an agreement that satisfies both parties.
Typically, the mediation process requires 2–3 joint sessions before both parties reach an agreement.
Once they come to an agreement, the mediator will draft a document with the decided terms, which both parties will have to sign.
Azizeh offers family mediation services for separating families in Palo Alto. If your family is struggling with a divorce, you can bring Azizeh in to help you resolve conflicts and reach an agreement that benefits all parties—especially your kids.