Couples, who decide to separate, but not to divorce, do so for a variety of different reasons. Some consider living apart as a kind of prelude to divorce, a vehicle for helping members of the family—adults and children—to adjust to a new “world order.” Others believe that separation will provide the time and space to rethink their relationship, even to help them work out marital issues in therapy or in mediation or by themselves with the goal of staying married and living together again in the future. Regardless of the reason for living apart, mediation offers a problem solving approach for considering areas of concern and crafting an agreement that helps make the separation period productive regardless of whether reconciliation or divorce is the end objective.
To help couples consider mediation as a planning mechanism for their separation we have compiled a list of questions most frequently posed by prospective clients.
Although not all areas are applicable to every couple, the following areas are typically part of the mediation process:
Additional Budgetary Expenses/Concerns:
No, the couple is entering into an agreement by and for themselves. The judge is not involved in determining the “goodness” or the fairness of the agreement. You should however consider having a written document signed by each of you that you commit to abiding by or to modifying if you wish to execute changes.
It is the mediator’s job to help you communicate by ensuring that neither party monopolizes the discussion and that a more reticent party is helped to express ideas. The mediator should also provide information and suggest options, all in an effort to ensure that agreements are reached based on an understanding of the impact of decisions and their longer-term ramifications.
Couples who embark on new living arrangements will always benefit from structuring the terms of their “new” deal before executing the change. However, it is never too late to review living situations with the objective of improving the arrangement. Whether you enter mediation before you actually live apart or after you have separated, the problem solving nature of the mediation process and the guidance of an experienced mediator will help you to address problems and consider concerns in a safe and confidential environment.