One of the hidden beauties of mediation is that you can decide when you want to address certain issues in your divorce. We recently had a mediation where the child was five years old, and in public kindergarten. We asked the parents whether they wanted to discuss the child’s future education- whether they wanted to consider private school down the road, and their thoughts about paying for college. These particular clients decided together that they wanted to wait to make these very important decisions.
Firstly, they wanted to re evaluate the private elementary school decision in three years. They decided that once the child was entering fourth grade, they would try to decide together whether the child would attend a private school commencing in sixth grade. This allowed them enough time to speak to one another, and if they decided to go the private school route, submit applications in time. They further decided that if they could not agree upon this decision, they would return to mediation.
Secondly, they decided to wait on the ever important college decisions—the financial aspects (how much each parent would pay, and the type of school (state or private). Although we do need to state in the Agreement that college has been considered, we simply state that the parents will address the college issue when the child turns a certain age. And, once again these parents agreed that if they could not make the college decisions on their own, then they would return to mediation prior to going to Court.
Some people simply like to wait on future decisions. When a child is very young, it is difficult to imagine what will be going on in each of your lives in perhaps 10 or 15 years. When parents are divorcing, it may even be difficult to envision life past the first post divorce year. This is why many people simply decide to address certain issues as they get closer— this way they will have the advantage of updated information when making their decisions- their finances will be more up to date, as well as their current residence. This will enable people to make more accurate and informed decisions at the time.