Divorce or separation is situations that no couple wish to face, but they do exist and can easily occur. While it may be easy to deal with on a practical level without children, the situation becomes more complicated when children are present. The majority of parents identify mediation as a method of dealing with child custody but are unsure of what mediation truly is and how it operates. This article will provide information on what mediation in child custody arrangements is and why it is worthwhile considering this path when facing this legal case.
What Is Mediation?
In its most simplistic manner, mediation is a process whereby legal disputes are solved using a neutral third party. In cases of child custody, a professional mediator will be a Family Law Attorney in Dayton Ohio and he or she will assist parents in reaching an agreement that will work for all parties involved. Mediation allows open and effective communication between the parents and allows discussion of issues regarding parenting decisions in a safe environment.
In many cases, reaching an agreement regarding parenting decisions could refer to visitation times and schedules; the mediator’s role is to identify the issues and ask relevant questions. The child custody mediator will also assist with drafting terms of a child custody agreement when one is reached. It is important, however, to note that mediators will not offer legal advice and will function primarily as a facilitator of communication.
What Are The Benefits Of Mediation?
- Mediation Is Non-Adversarial
Potentially the greatest benefit to using professional child custody mediation is that it is a collaborative procedure and non-adversarial. The main aim is to form the best agreement for the children and focus on their needs. Unlike the divorce procedure, during mediation, the couple will be able to develop a parenting plan that allows both parents to remain active in their children’s lives. Alternatively, you could take your ex-spouse to court and sue for full or partial custody of the children. This is far more adversarial and can cause the children emotional stress.
- Mediation Is Less Difficult For The Children
Contested divorces are filled with conflict and evidence has shown that this can have a detrimental effect on children. Even if you have good intentions, it is important to note that it is the legal professional’s job to represent your interests and try to avoid any situations that could cause distress. Unfortunately, fighting for custody can always cause some problems and children will become “caught in the middle” even if it is unintentional. Mediation is beneficial because it focuses on what is best in the immediate situation and how to separate parental problems from child custody issues.
- The Mediator Is A Neutral Party
Professionally trained and experienced mediators are neutral parties meaning that they will not hold biases or “take sides”. The purpose of meeting with the mediator is to plan a process for moving forward and not remaining “in the mire”. You may spend time talking about your past, but you will find that discussing the situation will help you find new means of working towards a positive future.
- The Mediation Procedure Does Not Blame People
When you choose to blame one person or another for the divorce, it is inevitable that you will become an adversary to your partner. This can make it difficult to work collaboratively with them in raising your children; therefore, it is beneficial to use a mediator to “clear the air”. A mediator can help you set aside any blame and focus on the development of skills for a new parenting arrangement. Blaming and shaming will not help child custody arrangements but moving onward with a clear head will ensure that the agreements are reached.
- Focusing On The Future
A great advantage and one of the core concepts of mediation is that it focuses on the future. In the majority of cases, both parties love their children and want the best for these small beings; therefore, using mediation will help focus on the future and create a workable plan allowing the parent to have a meaningful relationship with the child.
- Mediation Can Reduce Conflict
Effective mediators will assist people in developing skills for strong communication between parents. As time progresses, this will reduce the anger between partners and stress in the child custody situation. When you and your partner are not arguing about past experiences, it is easier to focus on the immediate situation and see what is most beneficial for your children and their future.
- Mediation Can Reduce Stress Levels
The emotional stress associated with a divorce can have various physical manifestations including an inability to sleep, problems concentrating, and impatience with children. As long as you remain in this state of stress, the physical response is a natural one. Mediation can help reduce levels of stress by presenting you with tools to work through conflict. Hopefully, you will use the tools to create a new arrangement and overcome any physical problems you may be experiencing.
- Helping To Create A Good Working Relationship With The Ex-Partner
Potentially the most significant of all aspects associated with mediation is its ability to create good working relationships between divorced individuals. This comes about by teaching the individuals to work together to raise their children effectively and communicate correctly; thereby, developing strong custody plans for the future.
- Mediation is Cost-Effective
When working with a family lawyer, you will pay the professional per hour to be your legal representation. As your ex-partner is also paying a separate lawyer for representation on an hourly basis, this can quickly become very costly. Mediation is a less expensive option and can be more beneficial as you will not have to pay all the additional court costs.
- It Is A Win-Win Situation
As is mentioned, the overall focus of any child custody mediation is to arrange a strong working plan for the children. We understand that in non-abusive relationships it is best for parents to share custody and mediation can help parents obtain this parenting strategy.