Divorce is hard on everyone in the family, no matter their age. This is particularly true for children, who don’t get a choice in the matter. Children may feel like they should choose a parent. They may be emotionally exhausted from dealing with two angry, stressed out parents. The last thing a child going through divorce needs is to testify against one of their parents or to choose sides in a courtroom. If you and your former spouse choose mediation for your divorce instead of a court battle with no real winners, you can minimize the emotional impact your divorce will have on your children.

Mediation offers a host of benefits. Both you and your former spouse can have your own attorney present, as well as a neutral third party who helps to mediate your discussions. Instead of letting a judge make all the decisions about your separation, you can both have input in the important decisions, leading to mutually beneficial compromise instead of a winner/loser situation. While emotions run high during divorces, you don’t have to have a drawn-out, contentious divorce. You can negotiate a mediated divorce agreement with your former spouse with better overall results for everyone involved.

Mediation can minimize the impact of divorce on your children

If your children see you and your former spouse working together to reach compromises and parent together, you can help reduce their negative responses to the divorce. Divorce can cause bad behavior, impact school performance, and leave lasting emotional scars for children and teenagers. The more contentious the divorce, the worse the potential impact on your children. They may witness your testimony against each other, which will probably highlight the worst about your personalities and behavior over the course of the marriage. The courts may expect them to testify themselves.

It can be hard for children to understand that they are not the cause of all the anger and that none of it is directed at them. Mediation, which essentially forces both parents to sit down and compromise on all the major issues of the divorce, can help the parents deal with their issues and develop a working relationship for the sake of the children. The children, in turn, will adjust better to divorces where their parents are working together, not against one another.

Even in mediation, you want an attorney’s help

Although mediation may eliminate your need to go through the painful process of hearings and testimony in family court, it’s still important for you to obtain an experienced divorce attorney. Your attorney can help ensure your mediation compromises are appropriate, legally sound and fair to everyone involved. Your attorney can also help ensure that the terms of your mediation agreement are upheld. Don’t try to go through this complex process alone. If you are planning to divorce, you need legal guidance as soon as possible.