For many families facing an impending divorce, the biggest concern is the impact on the children. Studies make it clear that divorce can have a negative impact on children, affecting their emotional, social and even physical health. The more contentious and drawn-out your divorce becomes, the more likely it is that your children will experience negative consequences.
For some couples in New Jersey, mediation could be a great alternative to a court-based divorce. Not only can mediation allow you to obtain a divorce more quickly and for less money, it can reduce the strain of the divorce on the children of the family.
Mediation can reduce arguing and tensions
When you choose mediation to resolve issues instead of a standard divorce, you avoid the entire court battle and the stress that comes with it. Many couples find themselves on their worst behavior during divorce, as emotions run high. Trying to “win” in court could motivate otherwise decent people to do underhanded or cruel things to someone they once pledged to love forever.
Children are more observant and intelligent than they are often given credit for being. While they may not comment about a situation, chances are good that they are listening and learning from it. When you’re fighting with your ex, all you’re teaching them is that bad behavior is fine and that arguing is how you solve problems. Even if you try to shield the children from the acrimony between you and your ex, they are likely aware of the anger and hurt feelings.
Mediation shields your children from court exposure
Seeing parents argue is difficult on children, but witnessing a contentious divorce in court could be damaging. Having to testify about their own preferences for living arrangements or substantiate claims of bad behavior by one or both parents could also cause issues in the fragile parent-child relationships.
If you choose mediation to resolve custody arrangements and other outstanding concerns in your divorce, you don’t need to involve your children in the process at all. Instead, you can focus on working with your attorney, your spouse and the mediator to find compromises that work in the best interests of the children.
Mediation can lay the foundation for co-parenting in the future
When your marriage ends, it’s common to wish you never have to interact with your former spouse again. Once you have children, however, that possibility is gone. The best interests of children in almost all divorce cases that don’t involve abuse include having solid relationships with both parents during and after the divorce.
When you can’t stand to look at or talk to your spouse, that makes working together as a team to parent your children difficult. Mediation can help you look past your differences and disagreements to focus on what is most important in the situation, including protecting your children.