Going through a divorce can be an emotional time for all parties. When children are involved in the divorce, there can be special challenges. Many divorcing couples share the primary goal of protecting their children from additional stress during this time. For this reason, divorcing parents often choose the mediation process over a traditionally litigated divorce.
Mediation can be less stressful on children for several reasons. Most mediations are held at neutral locations, not in courthouses, which can reduce the level of anxiety, should a child need to appear. The divorce mediator will be specially trained to help both sides with fair negotiations and required compromises.
Mediation often reduces the combative nature of divorce, by allowing the parties to focus on the children’s interests over their own. When engaging in the mediation process, parents can follow a few simple rules to help their children during this difficult period. Many courts in Maryland require mediation as part of the divorce process. Many people choose to hire a mediator outside of the court system, prior to a court filing. Both can be very helpful.
Avoid Negative Comments About the Other Parent
Speaking badly about your ex-spouse in front of your child can have devastating effects on the child. Name calling or yelling at the other parent can make children feel the situation is out of control or unsafe. Children may imitate the disrespect in your words and adopt your negative attitude or behavior.
It is unnecessary to share the specific details of your divorce, including matters related to child support or alimony. This advice also includes not speaking poorly of your ex-spouse’s family or friends.
Keep the Children Neutral During the Process
Children should never be made to feel that they need to choose one parent over another. Making a child feel guilty over spending time with their other parent does not help anyone in the long run. Children should not be asked to “spy” or report back about the other parent’s activities. Children should not be kept from visiting or talking on the phone to another parent.
Encourage your children to maintain their relationship with the other parent. By allowing the children to remain neutral during this process and sustain their existing relationships, parents truly put the best interest of their child first.
Create a Parenting Plan That Works for All Parties
Mediation often creates a more collaborative environment, where both parties can work together to create a parenting plan in the best interest of their children. Remember that any visitation or custody agreements created during the course of mediation will be legally binding.
Issues regarding education, extracurricular activities, and sports can be addressed in a parenting plan. With a parenting plan in place, divorcing couples can make sure that both are present for all the important events in a child’s life. Cooperation between both parents can allow for flexibility when the unexpected occurs.
Provide Consistent Reassurance
Many children blame themselves for the divorce. It is important that both parents present a unified front in reassuring the children that the divorce is not their fault, and that there is nothing that the child could have done to prevent the divorce.
By reminding the child that both parents love them very much, and that the change in living situations does not alter that, a divorcing couple can help ease some of the anxiety that a divorce brings to children.
Towson, Maryland Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Assist Families with Divorce Mediation
If you are considering a divorce mediation, the experienced Towson, Maryland child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC are ready to assist you. Call us today at 443-589-0150 or submit an online inquiry form to schedule a confidential consultation in our Towson or Hunt Valley office. We serve clients throughout Baltimore County, including Monkton, Sparks and Parkton.