Parenting after a separation or divorce can pose challenges. To help, we offer joint parenting sessions at no cost to any Iowa parents. Our professional mediator, Laura Martin, guides conversations about child-related topics.
Sessions are designed to help parents:
Find common ground
Improve communication & design a communication plan
Resolve parenting disputes
Craft parenting plans
Our unique child-centered approach helps keep kids out of the middle and helps parents make progress.
What happens in a session?
Parents meet together with the mediator, either in person or on Zoom. The Kids First mediator helps parents think about topics from their child’s perspective, encourages respectful dialogue, and identifies child-focused solutions when parents reach an impasse. When parents agree on any issue, Kids First will provide a written summary of the parenting plan. Parents can review the plan with their attorney before it becomes final. Parenting plans are tailored to children’s needs and individualized to a particular family.
At either parent’s request, the Kids First mediator can provide information or resources related to parenting across households.
If both parents agree, the KidsFirst mediator can meet separately with the school-aged children in the family to obtain children’s input.
Who can attend sessions?
Kids First helps Iowa parents who live separately and have minor children (ages 0-17) together. Parents may be divorced or never married. They can take advantage of this free service whether they have a custody order or not and whether there is a court case pending or not.
Kids First is able to accommodate parents with a No Contact Order (that permits mediation) by having separate parking lots, entrances/exits to the building, and separate meeting areas. We ensure parents do not have any contact physically or visually. Sessions for any parents can instead be held over Zoom.
This program is not available to parents whose children are in foster care or to parents whose children have been represented by Kids First.
Is the session a mediation?
Yes, the session is considered mediation and meets the court’s requirement for mediation. The mediator is a neutral third party. Kids First does not assist in mediating on financial topics such as child support and dividing assets and debts.
If you have further questions about the session or want us to reach out to the other parent to discuss the possibility of scheduling a session, call Laura at Kids First at 319-739-5430. You can also inquire about joint parenting sessions by completing the inquiry form.
If you and the other parent are already in agreement that you want to schedule a session, you should both complete the intake form and email the forms to Laura using the instructions on the form.
NOTE: Because of COVID-19, Kids First has adopted a social distancing policy. To limit the spread of infection, our joint parenting sessions are being held remotely by Zoom.