The majority of the couples I see in divorce mediation have children. Early on in the mediation process, when I ask them to identify their most important concerns, they invariably say that they are most concerned about the well-being of their children during their separation and divorce process – and continuing after they are divorced.
One of the important questions I ask on my mediation intake form is whether or not any of the couple’s children has special needs. If they answer yes, then I know I will need to obtain much more information about the specifics of their child’s situation in order to help the parents address important decisions about their child’s current and future care.
I recently participated in a discussion with a number of colleagues who are therapists working with couples and their families. We had all just witnessed a divorce mediation session where a couple was discussing the parenting arrangements for their two children, both under the age of ten.
An article that recently appeared in HuffPost Parents entitled “The Most Important 10 Minutes of a Child’s Day” triggered my own thoughts about supporting our children’s emotional well-being. The suggestions of the author, Kenneth Barish, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor of psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University, were simple, yet very meaningful.
In the divorce arena, a fascinating balance exists between the dictates of the law and a couple’s ability to determine what is “fair” for them, given their specific circumstances. If a couple chooses mediation over a litigated divorce, they have the opportunity to craft an agreement that more accurately reflects their needs.
As divorcing couples become more and more enlightened, an increasing number of people have become curious about the benefits of mediation and how they might be applied to their unique situation. In thinking about this issue, I’ve compiled a list of seven advantages to mediation over the traditional divorce process.
That is an important question – and one whose answer has many nuances. A simple answer to that question might be: When your relationship has fallen apart and cannot be repaired. But, as we know, life is often not that simple. There are a number of subtle factors that play into the decision that ultimately brings a couple to divorce mediation.
Parents who are divorcing, and who have children, must address two separate and important issues up front: who will have legal custody of the children and who will have physical custody of the children. Depending upon the circumstances, legal custody and physical custody may be awarded to one parent solely, or to both parents jointly.
Divorce is an emotional time for everyone who goes through it.
When most people think of divorce, they think of long, painful litigation on top of the already painful emotions they are experiencing as a result of the separation from their life partner. Mediation provides an alternative approach that is good for parents, and especially beneficial for their children.