Never Married and Domestic Partners Mediation

Parents Never Married

Mediation is a process that can be used to address the needs of unmarried couples who are working through a separation of their relationship and acquired property, without litigation. Mediation is a structured problem-solving process where a neutral third person assists the parties in reaching an agreement. The mediator, who is trained and experienced in negotiation, facilitates the discussions and manages the process to ensure full discussion and resolution of the issues.

The parties negotiate directly with one another under the direct supervision and guidance of a mediator. The mediator creates an environment where the parties can sit together to discuss settlement options. The mediator establishes ground rules for effective communication so that an argument turns into a problem-solving discussion. Even though emotions may run high, the mediator keeps the parties focused and moving forward to resolution of the issues.

The result of mediation is a written agreement that is satisfactory to both the parties. The goal is not “winning” but rather resolution of the issues and a result that both parties can live with. The agreement provides the parties a reasonable way to divide their comingled property. It also gives provides a parenting plan for the children. In some cases, a co-custody plan for the children will be recognized by the court. Such plans can be the basis for filing with juvenile court in order that the agreement become binding on the parties and their children.

Mediation encourages participants to see themselves and each other as capable parents with a continuing responsibility to plan together for the future of their children!

Domestic Partnerships

Mediation is an ideal forum for addressing the needs of domestic partners who are working through a separation of their relationship. Mediation can help resolve issues for those who lived together, bought property together, parented a child together, and/or formed a business together while being involved in an emotional and personal relationship with one another.

While the law provides guidance and support to married families, it often does not address the needs of domestic partners. Such couples are often lost in not only a painful and emotional situation, but also a particularly vulnerable financial situation.

Mediation gives opportunity for the parties to choose standards, including borrowed legal standards, to guide them in making decisions concerning the children or property where such standards may not otherwise exist. Mediation assists them to separate their relationship with integrity by creating clear and documented mutually-agreed-upon decisions.

The mediator does not provide legal or financial advice, but facilitates communication. The open exchange of information frees up both parties to negotiate with each other in confidence, which means that it typically takes less time and money to resolve their issues. This will also minimize additional negative impact at this difficult time of separation.

Communication is the key in mediation. During this process, the parties can openly discuss their concerns and determine their own future. Self-determination and control over the outcome promotes positive, lasting results for everyone. This approach serves to benefit everyone involved.

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