A Best Interest Mediator is a mediator/facilitator who works with both parents to identify, create, implement and fine tune a parenting plan that is in your children’s best interests.
It is very traumatic for all family members when a relationship ends. Every member of the family must make shifts. In times of crisis it may be difficult to think straight, but it is when your children need you the most. We help you to stay focused on the present and future by collaborating with your family to work through major disagreements and co-create a parenting plan that addresses your children’s unique needs and circumstances.
Who Needs a Best Interest Mediator?
You are divorcing or separating parents and you want to spare yourselves and your children the pain, time, and expense of prolonged litigation. You are not motivated by revenge or continued fighting and drama. You understand that although you are hurting, you need to move on with your life and most importantly, place your children’s needs first. You are willing to do what it takes to help your children get through this difficult time.
You have financial issues that need to be addressed and resolved, such as child support, property division, payment of debts and alimony. Financial issues can be as complex as child custody arrangements, and you want a mediator who is has expertise dealing with the complex financial issues associated with divorce and separation as well as being experienced child advocates.
When does a Best Interest Mediator become involved?
You can begin Best Interest Mediation at any time during your separation or divorce. The goal of mediation is to steer you away from painful, expensive, draining litigation and towards settlement that is in your children’s best interest.
How does the Best Interest Mediator process work?
Initially, we will meet with each of you separately, with or with out attorneys, to learn more about your unique situation and family dynamic. This includes gaining an understanding of the history of parental conflict, matters of current concern, and each child’s unique needs and circumstances. We would decide together if it would make sense to meet with your children so we can understand who they are and what is important to them. In getting to know your family, we also can review reports, school records, and/or court documents and/or speak to teachers, coaches, therapists, doctors, grandparents, caregivers, and other important people in your lives.
You can mediate a temporary co-parenting arrangement very early in the process to allow you and your children time to adjust to the separation. Once we get a better understanding of your family, we may refer you to support services, such as classes or counseling. If appropriate, we can team with the counselors to help you and your children through the transition that comes when a relationship ends. We remain available to troubleshoot when necessary and/or when disagreements arise. Once everyone feels supported and has had a chance to adjust to the change, we meet with you to mediate a permanent child-centered co-parenting arrangement.
The Best Interest Mediation process confidential. The discussions we have in mediation cannot be used in court.
Why is Best Interest Mediation beneficial?
- Peaceful. Our goal is child-centered conflict resolution. It is undisputed that children benefit immensely when parents can cooperate and communicate effectively.
- Child-centered. All mediators are trained child advocates and focus solely on your children’s best interest.
- Cost-effective. Litigation in Family Court is prohibitively expensive. Mediation is a cost effective way to resolve your custody matter.
- Fast. The courts are crowded. It may be a year before your case goes to trial. Mediated custody settlements take far less time and people are happier wtih the outcome.
- Healthy. Mediation helps parents to learn to work through problems. This in turn allows them to roll model for their children how to overcome conflict and challenges.
- New Beginnings. Parents have fresh new energy after their case is closed. They can re-focus their attention on their career, education, relationships, hobbies, and friendships.