Co-parenting can be difficult even when the parental relationship is intact. When parents are no longer together, however, effective co-parenting relies heavily on communication, cooperation and compromise.
When parents are trying to sort out any issues surrounding the children, mediation can help divorcing or unmarried parents craft parenting plans that meet their unique needs – without resorting to costly and painful court matters.
How co-parenting mediation benefits children
Mediation helps parents reach mutually acceptable agreements when it comes to co-parenting. The primary goal is to get everybody on the same page through better communication and understanding.
Mediation can have huge benefits for both parents and children. Studies have repeatedly shown that it’s high-conflict situations between the parents – not specifically divorce – that does a lot of psychological damage to the kids. Because mediation relies on a cooperative approach, it’s inherently less adversarial than litigation. Plus, since both parents have input into the ultimate shape of the parenting plan, both are more likely to adhere to the agreements in the future. That helps keep conflicts during and after the divorce to a minimum.
Common issues addressed in co-parenting mediation
Every family has unique needs, and the mediation process can be easily tailored to address:
- Parenting time schedules: Determining where the children will live and how much face-to-face time they will spend with each parent is a huge part of the process. A detailed and fair parenting time schedule (including whether virtual visitation should be included and how that will work) can be created.
- Decision making authority: Another issue that can be worked out is whether the parents will share decision-making authority over all the major aspects of their children’s lives, and to what degree. Mediation can address things like what religion the children will follow, who will make decisions about their medical care and who will direct their education.
- Financial responsibilities: Child support isn’t nearly as cut-and-dried as many people think. Mediation can be used to create a financial plan between the parents that addresses all the child’s needs, including medical insurance, educational expenses and more.
Mediation is one of the most effective ways of putting your children first during a divorce. Learning more about this option can help you to assess whether this approach is right for you and your family.