The Mediation Preparation Program prepares parents for custody or visitation mediation
and teaches the skills necessary to build a cooperative relationship with the other
parent both during and after mediation.
Parents who are splitting up or divorcing and who have not yet agreed on a parenting
plan are often asked to go through a process known as mediation. Research has shown
that mediation can have many benefits compared to fighting it out in court. On average,
parents who mediate come to an agreement more quickly, are more likely to stick to
the agreement, are less likely to fight in front of their children, and have better
family relationships. The Mediation Preparation Program focuses on getting parents
ready for mediation and providing them with the skills needed to go through this process.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE MEDIATION-PREP SESSION
Our program can be completed in one session and is offered free of charge. During the session a pre-mediation coach meets with each parent separately (not as
a couple) for about 90 minutes. A parent may participate even if the other parent decides not to. During the session
parents are provided with (1) social and emotional support; (2) research-based information
about the benefits of mediation; (3) information about what to expect during mediation,
with recognition that each mediator and mediation process is different; (4) an opportunity
to view the video “Evans Matter,” which addresses both the procedures of and the emotional
aspects of mediation; (5) help identifying strategies to stay focused on cooperative
parenting during and after mediation for the benefit of the kids; (6) a copy of the
2004 book The Truth about Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions so You and Your Children
Can Thrive, by Robert Emery—a book that focuses a good deal on how cooperative parenting benefits
kids; and (7) referral to a mediator, if you don't already have one.
Parents who participate in the program have the option to help us evaluate the program
by completing research questionnaires. Participants who choose to be a part of the
evaluation research are compensated $15 - $45 (depending on the extent of their participation).
In the first year (2008-2009), 100% of parents reported the program either “helped”
or “helped a great deal” in dealing more effectively with their problems. 100% were
“very satisfied” or “mostly satisfied” with the program. 92% rated the quality of
service they received as “excellent” or “good.”