Discussions about divorce often concern litigation. People often think about spouses fighting over property in court with one another or arguing about custody matters in front of a judge when they contemplate divorce. Yet, contested (also known as litigated) divorces are not necessarily the best option for everyone seeking to end a marriage. While some couples do need a judge to rule on their differences, many others only need to attend court as a formality. A judge can then review and finalize the terms that they have already set, but the judge does not make any of the major decisions for the family as they would in a litigated case.
Spouses preparing for divorce usually don’t start out in total agreement about what should happen with their assets and custody matters, but many people are able achieve an uncontested divorce filing by attending divorce mediation. Those with young children may find that mediation is one of the best options available when preparing for divorce.
How mediation can help parents
Divorce will always be a destabilizing experience for the children in the family, but parents can take steps to limit how difficult the divorce is for the children in the family. It is often conflict between parents and the perceived pressure on the children to take sides that make divorce so difficult for the youngest people in the family.
Mediation allows people to divorce with minimal conflict and does not require any involvement from the children whatsoever. The parents work through their own issues in a confidential environment. They will have to find ways to compromise with one another. The process of working together to settle custody matters and property division disagreements can help parents practice healthier communication and set the tone for a positive co-parenting relationship in the future.
Additionally, parents can discuss factors that they believe should impact the final determinations in their divorce in a confidential setting, thereby shielding the children from information that may damage their perception of their parents. The reduced conflict between the parents and pressure on the children can help minimize the damage the divorce may cause.