Should I Choose Divorce Mediation for My Children’s Sake?
There are many good reasons to mediate a divorce, not the least of which is how mediation can benefit your children. When a divorce goes to trial, conflicts escalate. There’s additional pressure on the parties, and that pressure trickles down to their children. Additionally, when the issue of child custody goes to court, a judge must decide the issue based on the best interests of the child(ren). This requires the judge to get additional information from a variety of sources, some of which can put added psychological pressure on your child:
- Child psychologist or social worker’s report — Often a judge will ask a child psychologist or social worker to write a report. This can require a home visit and interviews with the children. In highly contested actions, parents may each hire their own psychologist to talk to the children and prepare a report.
- Witnesses — Parents can call as witnesses a variety of people who know their children well. This is usually limited to grandparents and other close relatives.
- Lawyer for the child — In some cases, the court can appoint a lawyer to represent the child. The child must meet with this lawyer and talk about his or her preferences for custody.
- Guardian ad litem — A GAL is a court-appointed officer who investigates the case and reports back to the judge. GAL investigation can include an interview with the children.
- Child’s meeting with the judge — The judge may meet with the child in chambers to discuss the case about issues affecting him or her. This means prepping your son or daughter for a visit to court and the sit-down with the judge.
Children already have a tendency to blame themselves for the breakup of their parents’ marriage. Making them a part of the proceedings can intensify this feeling.
Fortunately, parents can reach a resolution through mediation without any of the above steps being necessary. No one knows your family better than you do, so you don’t have to do additional fact-finding. If you do think it would be beneficial to have a child psychologist speak to your child, you and your spouse can share the cost.
Mediation also benefits your child by:
- Keeping your stress level low — Your children notice when you’re struggling emotionally. Mediation relieves much of the pressure so you can remain strong for yourself and for them.
- Moving quickly — You’re not tied to the court calendar, so you can move at your own pace, completing the process in a timely manner.
- Giving you more control over the outcome — Judges are conscientious about making sound decisions where children are concerned. But no matter how thorough they are, judges cannot learn everything there is to know about a family before rendering a decision. So, you can get hit with an adverse judgment. Since mediated solutions are based on voluntary agreement, you never have to accept an adverse outcome.
- Helping you repair communication and trust — Mediation is a cooperative exercise that helps many parents overcome the hard feelings associated with divorce and set a positive tone for co-parenting their children after the divorce is final.
All of these factors make mediation a choice worth considering for your children’s sake.
If you are considering mediation for your child custody dispute, Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. can help. Call us at 1.631.683.8172 or contact our Long Island office online.