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Should I Go To Mediation if We Pretty Much Have Things Worked Out?

As a domestic relations mediator, I sometimes have people ask me if they should go to mediation if they "pretty much have things worked out". My answer is "Yes".

Mediators deal with issues in divorce, dissolution of domestic partnerships, custody and parenting time on a daily basis. We may think of issues that you have not considered, but which should be addressed. We may think of ways to write up the paperwork so that there is no confusion down the road, thereby eliminating future conflict. We may know of additional resources that you should probably check with before finalizing your paperwork.

We have heard the stories about folks being "under water" in their homes, behavioral issues with the kids, lack of paperwork for splitting up of a retirement account. We can help you avoid the problems that other people, who did not have the right resources, have had.

If it is true that you have things pretty much worked out, that's great. We can prepare the paperwork for you. More often than not, however, just when folks think that everything has been worked out already, they discover that there really is an issue or two that has not been worked out. Perhaps one party didn't want to bring it up for fear of upsetting the apple cart. Or perhaps it is a brand new issue which just reared its ugly head.

In any event, if there are additional issues to be resolved, the mediator can help you with them. Mediators are trained to help folks resolve simple and complex disputes through a process that promotes cooperation, fairness and mutual respect, and reduces the psychological and financial distress that always comes with conflict. Mediators can help the parties attack the problem, not each other, and identify the real needs, fears and concerns that so many folks have during this period of extreme change.

At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator will prepare the paperwork which includes all of the decisions you have made. You will be advised to have your own attorneys go over the paperwork to ensure that you are clear about your rights and obligations under the terms of the mediated agreement. The cost for having an attorney review what has been prepared in mediation is far less than the cost of hiring an attorney to unravel any mistakes you may make without a mediator's help.


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Oregon Courts decide child custody when the parents cannot. The court considers the best interests of the child when making a ruling. Child support payments are based on an income shares model. Each parent is required to contribute financially to their child's upbringing and each person's share is calculated in proportion to their income. Each parent must provide copies of his or her W-2s to verify income. Along with the income statements, the court considers each parent's ability to borrow funds, earning capacity, and the child's needs. The court may order the parent paying child support to buy a life insurance policy and keep it in force so that the child will still be supported if the parent dies before he or she reaches the age of majority.
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