Divorce Mediation Services
Our comprehensive educational and experiential background in psychotherapy, family systems and child development has provided us with a keen understanding of communication skills, problem-solving skills and conflict resolution skills. It’s the combination of these skills that is essential to successful negotiations and reaching mutually acceptable and durable agreements.
We help you put your children first.
If a couple’s communications break down in the process of discussing separation and divorce issues, we are professionally trained to help them move beyond the obstacles toward constructive problem solving and, ultimately, agreement. We address the emotional, child-centric and family related issues and work closely with attorneys in addressing the property, financial and legal aspects of divorce.
What is a mediated divorce?
A mediated divorce is one in which both parties engage a neutral professional as a third-party facilitator(s) who helps the couple negotiate aspects of their settlement. At Family Divorce Resource, Amy and Scott focus on all child related matters whether it is limited to the discussion of specific issues or a broader scope to include the development of a comprehensive and customized Parenting Plan. We work closely with attorneys, mediators and any other professionals who may be working with the couple to resolve the property and financial discussions related to their settlement. After the mediation has been completed the spouses will each engage a family law, or divorce, attorney to review the final agreement before the appropriate legal paperwork can be filed.
At Family Divorce Resource, we mediate divorce settlements in Maryland in a variety of capacities:
- Either Amy or Scott work as a co-parenting mediator for a couple
- Amy and Scott work together to provide paired co-parenting mediation for a couple
- Amy or Scott co-mediate, working in tandem with an attorney mediator
As trained divorce mediators, Scott and Amy are able to guide dialogue between spouses and the process of arriving at an agreement, encouraging both spouses to talk about areas of importance to them, as well as areas of conflict. When conflict arises, the mediator assists in creating options to find solutions that lead both parties to agreement. In mediation, it is important to understand that while the process itself is guided by the mediator, the outcome is not. The couple maintains responsibility for the final decisions and agreements and each client retains his or her own individual attorney to review any agreements that are created in mediation.
Mediation is different than a “collaborative divorce” in which each client has their own attorney along with other divorce coaches, child-specialist, and financial neutrals all together forming a multidisciplinary team. Mediation involves a much less intensive approach, involving a neutral third party to help guide the couple through the negotiations. Collaborative divorce has many more supports in place to manage higher degrees of conflict and more complex financial and legal matters. Mediation is more ideal for lower levels of conflict and less complex financial and legal matters.
Divorce Mediation for Co-parentingCo-parenting refers to the process when two parents, who are no longer married, share the role of raising their children in a collaborative way such that all family members benefit. Co-parenting is typically a term used in the context of a separation or divorce, however all parents—be they married, separated or divorced—can have disagreements about child-rearing goals and values. In the process, parents can sometimes risk losing sight of what is in each child’s best interests.
Amy and Scott are trained to help parents get back on track—and stay on track.
When differences in parenting approaches or styles are not addressed, deep resentment can arise between parents, setting children up to act out and develop behavioral and emotional problems. Conversely, when parents work cooperatively to convey shared values and respect their differences, they can learn to compromise, which enhances the quality of life for children as well as parents.
The approach to co-parenting mediation used at Family Divorce Resource focuses on helping parents understand the importance of respecting their differences and then negotiating ways to manage those differences, by way of how they are communicated to their children or by way of reaching a compromise. This approach to mediated co-parenting is designed to prevent kids from feeling like they need to choose between parents or divide their loyalties. It also gives parents the tools they need to support and encourage their children’s need to have respect and love for each parent.
Co-mediation involving both a co-parenting mediator and an attorney together:
This style of divorce mediation is where two mediators from different disciplines (parenting specialist and attorney) work as a team with both spouses during every mediation session.
This approach sometimes affords couples more balance, comfort and professional attention than solo mediation.
Clients also benefit from the skills of two mediators with varied backgrounds in mental health and law at a cost comparable to that charged by solo mediators. In co-mediation, the matters related to the marital separation agreement include the child access schedule, asset division, property division, spousal support and child support. The final product is a marital separation agreement that would then be reviewed by each party’s own independent counsel prior to signing it.
The Paired Approach, unique to Family Divorce Resource, can offer to couples who have considered or may have already have engaged attorneys within a traditional divorce model (i.e. they are not going through a collaborative divorce).n independent counsel prior to signing it.
This approach can be particularly helpful for couples with children where there is moderate to high conflict.
In such cases, it is often beneficial to have both Amy and Scott, two experienced parenting specialists, assist the couple in dealing with child-related conflicts. In this model, each parent has their own specialist to work with individually, and this approach utilizes 4-way meetings where the couple and both specialists meet together to assist in a divorce mediation or to develop a parenting plan and/or in facilitate agreement on child-related matters.
Child-inclusive MediationChild-inclusive mediation is where a child-specialist, such as Amy or Scott, will meet with the children in a private session to gain an understanding of the challenges they are experiencing from their individual perspective.
We are then able to share this information with parent’s in an effort to guide discussions and child-centered decisions. The children do not attend the mediation sessions with the parents, but the child-specialist acts almost as a representative or voice of the child during the mediation process.
As a result, in cases where parents need this added input, the child-specialist’s feedback can be an invaluable resource to help parents maintain a focus on the best interests of their children during the mediation of a parenting plan or in the discussion of specific issues of concern to a parent and/or a child.
A child-inclusive divorce mediation process provides:
- The child or children an opportunity to voice personal concerns about the divorce .
- Parents with information and guidance to help their children through the divorce.
- Continuity by having the same Co-Parenting mediator meet with the children
- Neutrality by having a different child specialist meet with the children, if indicated
- Personalized feedback to parents
Parenting PlansWhen children are involved, parents need to determine their separation and post-divorce “parenting, or co-parenting, plan” so that they will have agreement on how parenting matters will be managed in a mutually agreeable way, going forward.
The parenting plan represents part of the marital separation agreement and addresses issues concerning the children.
The issues addressed in the Parenting Plan include the children’s day-to-day access, holiday and vacation schedule, educational and medical decisions, selection and arrangements related to extracurricular activities, communication protocols for parents and children and many other child-related decisions. In many cases a sole mediator can mediate the Parenting Plan. In more complex cases, couples may need child-inclusive mediation and/or a paired approach to Parenting Plan development.
At Family Divorce Resource we believe that the investment of time and attention to the development of a family’s customized Parenting Plan is invaluable as it paves the way for a more cooperative and respectful post-divorce relationship between parents.
When parents have a shared understanding of and agreement about how their children’s needs and activities will be managed there is less tension and conflict and more cooperation and consideration which are the essential ingredients for children’s positive adjustment to their parent’s separation and divorce.
We develop customized and dynamic Parenting Plans designed to:
- Facilitate agreement on child access schedules which may change over time in response to children’s development and growth
- Address educational decisions, extracurricular activities, holidays, special occasions, vacations, medical decisions and more
- Facilitate agreement on a specific child-related issue which may be a source of conflict
- Consider children’s specific and individual needs, preferences and best interests
- Provide for the changing developmental needs of children as they age and grow
- Provide for the changing family as parents begin new relationships and remarriages
- Address issues of blended families
We also provide paired Parenting Plan development in a traditional divorce.
We also offer Paired Parenting Plan development in which both Amy and Scott “pair with the parents” to work within the framework of a traditional divorce model to create a shared parenting plan. At Family Divorce Resource we understand that some couples will need to pusue their divorce within the traditional litigated model and may need the courts intervention at some point.
We work together with these families to meet their specific needs to address child related concerns and conflicts in a constructive way. Research has shown that when parents are able to reach consensus on matters related to the care of their children they are more likely to accept and maintain their agreements easing stress on the children involved.
Additionally, these parents may benefit from learning improved communication and problem solving skills as well as an increased understanding of the negative impact of their parental conflict on their children. Working with two mediators provides these couples with greater balance and comfort as well as greater opportunities for skill development.
Mediation for Couples Without ChildrenWe provide mediation for couples without children who are having difficulty reaching consensus on issues.
This type of mediation can be useful for couples where there are pets or other sentimental items over which they cannot agree.
This may also include reaching a shared understanding about mutual relationships with extended family and friends. Having a mediator facilitate difficult discussions often leads to understanding and consensus.
What Our Clients Are Saying
Amy & Scott helped our family navigate through an incredibly difficult time in our lives. They gave me and my kids the coping tools and tactics we needed when we needed them most. I'm not sure I could have gotten through my separation and divorce without them.— Mother of Two in Catonsville