Long Island Divorce Mediators Facilitate Shared Decision-Making

Forging joint custody agreements based on open communication

At Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc., many clients choose our services in hopes they will shield their children from some of the pain of divorce. Many are aware of research that shows the most effective way to reduce the negative impact of divorce is to keep both parents involved in their children’s lives as much as possible. Unfortunately, courts often issue lopsided child custody orders when a parenting plan closer to a 50/50 split would be more appropriate. In the overwhelming majority of those cases, courts award the mother sole custody and relegate the father to “visitor” status. However, when you mediate the terms of your divorce, you can present the court with an equitable parenting plan, giving each parent custody roughly 50 percent of the time and an equal say in decisions that affect your child.

How does joint legal custody differ from joint physical custody?

Joint legal custody means that each parent has the right to participate in major decisions that impact the child’s health, welfare, education, religious formation and other key issues. Joint physical custody means that each parent provides a residence for the child and tends to their physical needs. However, the right of joint legal custody is difficult to implement when the parents live apart and the child passes back and forth between them. It becomes all too easy for one parent to make decisions without consulting the other, either because they assume agreement or don’t want to face an argument over the issue. But, too often, unilateral decisions by one parent lead to a court appearance, wasting your time and money while adding stress to your life.

A mediated solution lets you join the shared parenting movement

The answer could lie with principles and practices emerging from “the shared parenting movement.” Advocates for fathers’ rights have been arguing for some time that equal-time custody arrangements are better for kids, and studies have confirmed that stance. Studies have also demonstrated that children in single-parent households suffer numerous disadvantages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Census Bureau, only 35 percent of children in the United States are raised by single parents, but these children account for:

  • 63 percent of teen suicides
  • 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
  • 71 percent of high school dropouts
  • 75 percent of children in chemical abuse centers
  • 85 percent of those in prison
  • 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders
  • 90 percent of homeless and runaway children

Unfortunately, state legislatures and the courts have been slow to implement shared parenting. In New York, there is no statutory preference for shared parenting or joint custody. New York State Assembly and Senate members have proposed laws containing a presumption of shared parenting since 1999, but the bills have continually been “held over” in the Committee for Children and Families.

If you believe that a shared parenting schedule is in your child’s best interests, divorce mediation is an efficient, nonconfrontational process for creating a balanced parenting plan that addresses your concerns.

Contact our Long Island divorce mediators for a shared parenting plan

If you believe that shared parenting is in your child’s best interests, our skilled mediators can help you and your spouse craft a parenting plan that works for your family. Call Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. at 1.631.683.8172 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Evening and weekend appointments are available, 7 days/week.