When you and your spouse had children, you probably never anticipated your marriage would end. You probably thought you would raise your children together, under the same roof, for years to come – or at least until they grew up and left home.
However, now that you face divorce, the last thing you want is to make the coming transitions harder on your children. If you are fortunate enough that the other parent agrees with you, it may be possible to make that wish come true for you, the other parent and especially your children.
Mediation could provide the answer
One of the biggest things mediation has going for it is the fact that it actively avoids the conflict that often accompanies the traditional courtroom process, which tends to be largely adversarial. Instead, it fosters compromise and cooperation, both of which you will need as you continue raising your children post-divorce. Other benefits of using mediation include the following:
- You can work toward an agreement without worrying that the negotiations will degrade into the “blame game” because the parties are focusing on the past. Instead, the process focuses on the future.
- The mediator helps keep you and the other parent from allowing any conflicts that arise to take over the proceedings. Instead, he or she helps you keep the focus on the task at hand.
- Because mediation helps reduce the stress surrounding your divorce, it can also make the process easier for your children. In addition, your children will know that you put their needs and happiness before your issues with your future former spouse.
- Mediation is not about who wins and who loses. Instead, it focuses on creating the best possible arrangement for your children.
A by-product of the mediation process is that you and the other parent may find that you are laying the foundation for a successful and mutually satisfactory co-parenting relationship since you may learn more effective ways to communicate, compromise and cooperate. You, the other parent and your children can only benefit from these skills.
Like every other set of parents across the globe, you can’t avoid conflict altogether. However, knowing how to resolve problems in a positive manner and having a plan for the resolution of issues that arise could make all the difference. For this reason, many parenting plans also include an agreed-upon way to handle conflict, which may just give you a leg up on married parents since they usually don’t sit down and write out how they will parent their children as you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will.