Month: June 2015

Separating but not married? Mediation can help!

Marital med 2nd imageWhen couples with children separate, there are a lot of decisions to make. Having those agreements in writing can decrease the chance for future conflict, facilitating a smoother  future for you and your children.

Unmarried couples with children need to determine their parenting schedule, how they will share holidays and special days with the children, how they will manage vacations with or without the children, how they will make important decisions in the future regarding the children, and more. A mediator can help by raising issues the couple may not yet have thought about and by facilitating the conversation when communication becomes challenging.

In addition, parents need to determine their support arrangements for the children and how expenses for the children such as health insurance, co-pays, prescriptions, dental costs, childcare and education will be handled. The mediator can assist by ensuring the parties gather necessary information to make informed decisions, provide information and resources to the parties, and help manage strong emotions and conflict as they arise.

If you and your partner are separating, mediation can help. Contact The Mediation Center today for more information, visit our website for more resources at www.MediationCTR.com or contact us today to schedule an appointment or talk with a mediator at info@mediationctr.com or 585-244-2444.

Lions and Tigers and FAMILY REUNIONS; Oh My!

Are you having a family reunion this summer? Is it your family? The in-laws? Whichever family is involved there are sure to be many personalities that show up. Some you appreciate and others you would rather run and scream from. But no matter what, you find yourself there, surrounding the grill or snack table…Review the situation

Family gatherings can create stress for many people for differing reasons. Your family knows all of your buttons and you have had years of ingrained patterns of behaviors with your family members.

Families have very unique personalities and sometimes these personalities can clash, and the thought of being together can be scary, similar to being thrown in a pen with lions and tigers, well maybe not that bad….

Clashing personalities can result in hard and hurt feelings that come with certain reactions/behaviors among family members. These are called family dynamics, some are good and others can be dysfunctional, to say the least! Every family is different, as is the resulting family dynamic. And trust me when I say, ALL families have DYNAMICS.

Your family’s cast of characters may include such personalities as: Mr. Negative, Aunt Nosey, Crazy Uncle, Miss Perfect, the slacker/moocher, the unruly child, muddy paws the dog, Cousin One-Up and the know-it-all. No matter what you call them, you likely have some relatives who stir up family controversy or who simply get on your nerves.

Families are given to us at birth or through marriage or other relationships. Family members are not chosen in most cases; rather we are born into them or thrown into them. At your family reunion, all the personalities come together, for better or worse.

Here are some suggestions for a happier family reunion:

  • Stick to the purpose. Why are you going to the family reunion? Is it to connect or re-connect with relatives? Then focus on what you want – not what you don’t.  Smile. Play. Help out. Don’t look for reasons to be offended.
  • Stop texting, start talking. The purpose of a family reunion is to see people in person; you don’t have to text and call. So put away the screens and enjoy each other.
  • Don’t let family push your buttons. Others push your buttons because they get a response, your emotions and your behavior.  Deactivate those buttons. Walk away, laugh, change your reaction. If you keep doing the same things that always lead to frustration, you’ll keep getting frustrated.  Do something different.
  • Let people be who they are. One of the biggest sources of conflict is that we want family members to change.  They will probably never change. So if you keep expecting them to, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  Set appropriate expectations for people.
  • HAVE FUN! Take your mind off of the serious stuff, and focus on the positives at the family reunion — like the 99 percent of the relatives you get along with.

If you know that going to a family event will cause you more distress and angst than joy in your life, it is okay to avoid those events. But, use this as a last resort and focus on the family members that bring you happiness.

Give it a chance with some of the above suggestions and you may be pleasantly surprised.

If you would like to address and try to resolve some of these family issues, consider mediation as a process that can help. Sitting down with a conflict resolution specialist who can facilitate your conversation can help you and future family reunions be happy and healthy!

Happy Family Reunion!!

Adapted from Family Reunion Planning Kit

When post-divorce mediation can help

Separate couple artThings change as you move through life. Sometimes the agreements that were made at the time of your divorce or separation no longer work for one or both of you, or are not being followed. Mediating the issues that have come up can lead to new understanding and willingness to compromise.

There can be new issues that have come up that were unforeseen at the time you filed. If you have children, their needs are continually changing as they get older. There may be things that you didn’t initially address in your agreement that need to be worked out now, such as paying for club sports, braces, or college. Changes in the kids’ activities might mean your current parenting schedule no longer works well. One of you may want to move farther away. One or both parents may have remarried and need to accommodate stepchildren in the scheduling.

There can be issues with certain parts of your agreement. A property or business that you continue to co-own may need to be dealt with, or perhaps there was a payment plan set up for one spouse to pay money owed to the other for the distribution of their assets that is not working. There may be an issue with payment of the child support. There may also have been a change in income, and you need assistance working out a new support amount and filing it with the court. Those issues can be addressed in mediation and any new agreements you make can be added to your court filing.

Coming together with the help of a mediator can lead you to re-establishing effective communication and coming up with mutually acceptable solutions to these issues.

Typical issues in post-divorce mediation:

New parenting schedules

Adjustments to child support/payment of child support

Decisions on paying for college or extracurricular activities

Selling jointly owned businesses or property

Payment of spousal support

One parent moving away

Disagreement over an issue affecting a child/the children

 

 

Call the office for more information at 585-244-2444.