Putting the Puzzle Together: Family Dispute Resolution

If you are considering separating from your romantic partner, it may feel overwhelming. Lives and belongings intermingle and the longer a relationship lasts the more entangled things become.

Whether separating your emotional lives or separating co-owned property and co-parenting duties, you may need help. Here are some resources you can utilize:

  1. Marriage and Family Therapist / Couples Counselor – they can guide you through rebuilding a relationship, or moving on and letting go.
  2. Nonprofit Organization – many have done the research and put together ‘how to’ guides, searching online for those guides may give you the information you need.
  3. Library – Visit your local public library or law library and ask the librarian for help finding resources.
  4. County Courthouse – contacting your local superior court will give you information of what programs your county has in place for families who may need to file petitions with the court.
  5. Attorney – a legal professional has specific knowledge about legal rights, responsibilities and the litigation procedure.
  6. Mediator – a non-biased third party creates a safe space for you to communicate and negotiate, allowing you the opportunity to reach agreements.

Mediation is a lesser known, but vital part of the dispute resolution process, and relies on the parties involved to determine their own outcome. Mediation is not a legal process, although many lawyers work as mediators. Utilizing the resources mentioned above can help you prepare for mediation. By understanding your needs, rights and responsibilities, you can define the terms of your separation and negotiate what is important to you.

You have the right to represent yourself in mediation and in the courtroom. Everyone has free access to their state’s laws. Searching the internet for your state’s “revised statutes” or “revised code” will take you to a list of laws. You also have the right to file court papers on your own behalf. Visit your local superior court clerk for assistance in finding the proper paperwork for your specific needs. Attorneys are wonderful resources, utilize them knowing there are other support systems available for you.

Depending on your individual circumstances and the state you live in, there are different issues you will face. Understanding the resources in your community are going to help you decide what is best for your family.

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