When parents don’t live together — because they get divorced, or maybe were never living together in the first place — they need to figure out how they’ll share parenting. Those discussions can get wrapped up in a lot of emotions, and spin-off into arguments that don’t do kids much good.
But the fact is that in most cases, the parents — even parents who push each other’s buttons — are in the best position to figure out what is best for their children. More often than they might expect, parents who think they’ll never agree on anything find out they agree on many key ideas. To make that discovery, and then build a good plan for their children, they just need help communicating. That is where mediation comes in.
A Collaborative Approach to Family Law
Judges will decide custody and parenting time if they have to. It is their job. But most judges will tell you that you know your kids better than a judge ever will and that if they can, parents should craft the arrangement that is best for their child.
In mediation, parents can each talk about their hopes and dreams and fears and worries for their child. Then the mediator can help them figure out a plan that fires those hopes and dreams and calms the fear and worry. Parents who build these plans together are much more likely to stick with the plan, much more likely to work together and communicate when changes might be needed, and so much more likely to minimize stress and conflict for their children.
Mediation Focuses on the Possibilities, Not the Problems
In the courtroom, child custody cases tend to be adversarial, with each parent trying to “win” the case by pointing out the other’s mistakes or shortcomings. . This combative approach often leads to higher stress and anxiety levels — for both the parents and their children. Parents tend to stay in conflict even after the judge issues a ruling, and that conflict spills over into your child’s life.
In contrast, mediation encourages the parties to focus on the future and discover their common goals. The mediator may ask you to articulate your vision for the future, such as inviting you to identify your biggest wish for your child, what special needs they may have, and what arrangements could best fit your schedules. From there, you can work together to create a parenting plan that supports your shared vision for your child’s future. Ultimately, those who go through the mediation process tend to feel more empowered and satisfied with the outcome than those who fight it out in court.
Building a Lasting Foundation in Minneapolis
Another benefit of mediating parenting or custody matters is establishing healthy communication between the parties. The mediator will use several techniques to help you and your child’s other parent listen carefully to one another, voice your concerns, and explore how or if you can address each other’s concerns. Using these communication tools during mediation can set you up for successful conversations in the future. Should you encounter a conflict, you’ll have some strategies for addressing the matter and resolving it calmly and effectively.
To learn more about the benefits of mediation for family law and child custody matters in Minneapolis and St. Paul, call Rubric Legal LLC today at (612) 465-0074.