Divorce is hard on children. It can be emotionally difficult to watch the two people they love most fighting. Particularly in cases where custody or support is contested, children can feel like they are in the middle of an impossible situation. If they are expected to testify or answer questions in a divorce hearing, they can feel responsible for the outcome and guilty about betraying one of their parents.
One of the best ways to minimize the emotional and social impact of a divorce on your children is to engage in divorce mediation instead of a drawn-out courtroom battle.
Mediation requires couples to work through their issues
While mediation isn't therapy and won't focus on the reasons for dissolution of the marriage, it can help couples find balance during divorce. It's far too easy to let the emotions of a divorce take control, leading to angry interactions and refusal to compromise. This refusal often results in lengthy court proceedings and a judge ultimately deciding what is in the best interest of everyone involved. Mediation not only gives the couple more say in the final divorce decree but can speed up the divorce process as well.
Mediation, on the other hand, requires the couple to meet in a neutral space and come to mutually agreeable compromises on the biggest issues of their divorce, including custody and support issues. Both parties can bring their own counsel. The process is guided by a neutral third party skilled at facilitating these kinds of difficult discussions.
If parents can set aside the acrimony that often comes with divorce, they can find themselves reaching mutually agreeable compromises for the biggest issues being contested in the divorce.
Mediation protects your children from courtroom drama
The mediation process isn't just empowering for the divorcing couple. It also protects the marital children from the trauma of testifying in court and being forced to choose a side in the divorce. Instead of needing to listen to their parents discuss one another's mistakes and flaws in court, they can be left with child care providers during the mediation process. They will not be required to choose whom they would prefer to live with or speak to a judge about that preference. Instead, they can benefit from seeing their parents working together to find a mutually agreeable outcome to the divorce.
A mediator can help you work through the biggest issues
If you and your soon-to-be former spouse can set aside emotions and ego, mediation can save your family money and your children emotional duress. Even if you can't imagine agreeing with your former spouse, mediation has a way of initiating calm, rational discussions that divorce court does not.
Trying to sit down and settle your issues mutually not only protects your family, it sets a positive example for your children about how to resolve difficult situations.