Dealing With a High Conflict Parent During and After Mediation
If you’re divorcing your partner, mediation can be an attractive option: it’s often faster, less expensive and easier than litigation. Not all couples are suited for mediation, however, particularly when one parent is considered high conflict.
Many mediators recommend people in high conflict marriages pursue other divorce options, since it’s unlikely either or both parents can come to an agreement. If you’d still like to use mediation to divorce a high conflict parent, here are some tips.
Parallel parenting vs. coparenting
Ideally, parents could come to an agreement on custody and child support, based on what’s in the best interests of their child. Many couples are able to put aside their differences and establish a good coparenting relationship, even if they no longer have any affection for the other. Coparenting involves joint responsibility for the child’s health, education and overall well-being. Parents work together to provide a stable and healthy environment, no matter what the custody and support situation.
Some parents simply cannot get along, even for the children, after they’ve separated. Parallel parenting is a viable alternative in this case. Parallel parenting is a strategy in which parents limit direct contact with the other.
The parents may share physical and legal (decision-making) custody, but most day-to-day decisions are made independently by whomever currently has physical custody over the child. Parents may decide to limit their communication to specific occasions, with defined parameters. For example, they may use special apps to communicate basic information, which takes the emotional or antagonistic component out of the equation.
If you decide to take a parallel parenting approach, be sure to keep your child’s best interests at heart. Mental health professionals can guide children and parents through this approach.
Contact the experienced Long Island divorce mediators at Solutions Divorce Mediation to learn more about your mediation options.