Many parents whose marriages come to an end know that they need to move on, but worry about how the divorce process may affect their children. In far too many cases, one parent remains in an unhealthy or abusive relationship for the sake of children. In some other instances, children become bargaining chips between parents trying to punish each other in the divorce process.
For these and many other reasons, many loving parents fear that they cannot successfully divorce their spouse without dealing irreparable damage to their children. Maybe this is because they experienced divorce as a child, or they’ve witnessed destructive divorces of friends and loved ones over time.
The good news is that divorce does not have to be devastating to your children. One of the best tools parents have to protect their children throughout a divorce is divorce mediation. Mediation can remove much or all of the adversarial nature of traditionally litigated divorce, allowing parents to keep their children at the heart of their negotiations.
How does mediation protect children?
Whenever a divorce involves children, there are numerous ways that the process can get ugly. Usually, this is because parents believe they have to approach the end of their marriage the way opposing generals approach a war, a concept we reinforce when we use phrases like “custody battle.”
Divorce mediation rejects the premise that divorce means one side wins and the other side loses. Rather, it creates an environment where both sides come to the table where a trained impartial mediator helps both parents understand what they must agree upon and helps shepherd the negotiations to a fair resolution.
So how does this protect children? To start, it creates a model that keeps the children at the center and allows the parents to work together to create a parenting plan that places a premium on each child’s best interests.
The mediator understands that it is his or her job to exercise impartiality, whereas an attorney hired by one party or the other has a responsibility to fight for the client’s individual best interests.
The things that generally hurt children the most commonly in divorce are fears of losing love, facing rejection, or feeling responsible for the family crisis. With mediation, you and your spouse can achieve the divorce you need while helping your children to understand that you both love them very much and want the best for them.
In some cases, this approach can offer amazing opportunities to demonstrate how responsible, loving adults approach heartbreak and conflict, which are exactly the kind of things children need to see modeled by their parents.
Furthermore, the mediation process can keep your divorce out of the courtroom, allowing you to cover all the legal aspects of your divorce without putting your children through the frightening experience of going before a judge.
Don’t wait to take control of your divorce
If you believe that divorce mediation may be right for you, there is no reason to wait before you reach out to an experienced, empathetic divorce mediator.
With proper guidance from a professional mediator, you and your spouse can dissolve your marriage while ensuring that your children remain protected and each person’s rights remain secure.