Change is the only constant, as they say. Long after a divorce is final, altered life circumstances could make it necessary to revisit and update some terms of the divorce with your former spouse. But don’t assume this means you’re facing an expensive, bitter, time-consuming court fight. Rather than pursuing litigation, many ex-couples find that post-divorce mediation is a better way to resolve their issues.
Benefits of Post-Divorce Mediation
- It saves time: Mediation is faster than traditional litigation, which can be dependent on scheduled hearings and filing dates.
- It’s less expensive: Couples need only hire one mediator instead of two attorneys.
- It’s non-adversarial: Mediation gives the divorced couple more control over the process. The cooperative approach helps former spouses work together to reach solutions that are mutually beneficial. By encouraging people to work together towards solutions, mediation fosters a positive environment that can be very beneficial for them and their children going forward.
How Does Mediation Work?
Former spouses meet with a professional mediator who is an impartial third party–a process often used during divorce proceedings as well. Professional mediators are trained in helping couples work through their issues in a calm, non-adversarial way. The mediator can only do so much for couples who cannot be civil or work together.
Modifications to divorce agreements are subject to the court’s approval.
What Circumstances Warrant Mediation?
Significant life changes may prompt updates to the terms of divorce. For either you or your ex, these could include a change in job or income level, new medical needs, health insurance coverage, or remarriage. If you have children together, a change in your child’s education, an illness, or new medical needs might also cause you to review the original terms.
Which Terms of Divorce Can Be Modified?
If such circumstances apply, the areas to be considered and modified could include:
- Maintenance/spousal support modification: An involuntary job loss, a new job, higher income, or the remarriage of either spouse can increase or increase alimony levels.
- Parenting Plans: While family courts generally encourage cooperation and flexibility, any ongoing or permanent changes have occurred, the parenting plan itself may need to be updated.
- Child custody and visitation: If serious issues arise with the original custody agreement, either because it is detrimental to the child or one parent plans to relocate, the court may revisit the arrangement.
- Child support: Changes to a parent’s income, or changed medical needs of the child may prompt modifications.
- Relocation with the child to another state: This is a complicated issue the court will examine carefully to determine the best needs of the child. Mediation gives both parents a voice in the process.
- College costs: Parents can work out how much each will contribute to expenses, including, tuition, books, room and board, and related school fees.
If you’re wondering if post-divorce mediation may be right for you, we are here to help. Please contact us with any questions and for additional resources.
All of us here at Raza & Jones, LLC understand this is a challenging time for our clients. As a family law firm, under St. Louis County’s Order pertaining to COVID-19 we are considered an essential business, and we remain open and available to all our clients. Our entire firm is working remotely, using our videoconference account to meet with clients or speaking by telephone. We are committed to delivering the same high standard of compassionate, effective representation we’re known for, in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.
With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Raza & Jones, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. For questions, or to schedule a confidential consultation, call 314-449-8830.