The main concern of every parent at the outset of a divorce is for their children. How will a divorce affect their children? Will their education suffer? Will they be emotionally damaged? Will the other parent stop me from seeing them? How will I support them? Being a parent is worrying enough, but when the two parents split, a whole new load of worries emerge.
Unless one parent is abusive or violent and the other parent is seeking full custody in order to protect their children from possible harm, mediation is a much better process than the courts for divorcing parents.
Tempers will flare, at times everything will seem very dramatic, but deep down most people have the ability to be rational and selfless and to do what is best for their children. Mediation is a process that can help parents to arrive at the right decisions.
Mediation is not easy, but is generally much less stressful than the court system. It is less intimidating and you retain a much greater control over the outcome. This means that the divorce process is easier for the children if their parents are less stressed. No matter how much parents want to hide their emotions children can pick up if something is not right and it can affect them as they do not have the ability to communicate their emotions.
Mediation will also help to decide on an ongoing routine for the children that will work for your family. A court is likely to divide custody and care fairly and appropriately, but this may not be right for you.
Perhaps you will decide that it is better for one parent to have complete custody during term times so the children do not have to worry about packing all their school things during the week, while the other parent has regular visits and takes them to their weekend activities. Or, perhaps you do want a complete 50/50 split. Every family is different and what works for you and your children should be your top priority. You can use mediation to properly discuss and think about it, even testing different methods between appointments to see if they are viable.
The greatest thing that mediation does for parents is open up communication. It may not be easy to communicate with your ex, your blood may boil every time you see them, but if you have children together then you simply have to communicate. Learning how to do this in a controlled environment will give you the tools you need to provide a united front and continue to give your children the utmost care and attention.
As your children grow their needs will change and so will your situations. You may become stuck again about how to reach an agreement. If you have had success with mediation once then you will know that you can always go back to it if you need more family legal help in the future.
Grant Stephens Family Law offers a mediation service in Cardiff for families in the surrounding area that need our help.