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How Mediation may reduce stress a Divorce causes your Children

Posted by John D. Kershman | Mar 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

It is fair to say that, generally speaking, divorce is an emotionally difficult process regardless of the relative issues any particular couple may be experiencing. So too, the same can be said for your children and with a great deal of uncertainty as to how any child may handle their own experience. It can certainly be devastating to a child to go through their processing of the divorce and bear witness to their parents' varying levels of animosity. If you are considering a divorce –you well should consider Mediation instead of traditional litigation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method (ADR) that has the potential to dramatically reduce stress and anxiety for one, as well as minimize the length of the process and eliminate your time in court. More importantly, for many folks, it is to empower you with control over the outcome of your divorce. Among other things, for your kiddos, studies have shown that Mediation can increase parents' contact with children and improve relationships, under the circumstances, and do so without increasing conflict between parents. As such, Mediation can be particularly effective and significantly reduce the emotional wear and tear on you and your children.

Development of your Parenting Plan becomes thoughtful and practical, avoiding acrimonious and financially draining custody disputes.

Your family and its needs are unique to you and your spouse. You know what will be best for your family, and both spouses are best suited, working cooperatively in a mediation process, to develop your parenting plan for what your children's lives will look like after the divorce. As opposed to leaving crucial decisions that will affect your children's lives up to the court, a mediator works with you and your spouse to facilitate you all reaching an agreement that best functions for all. Mediation will often facilitate avoiding a lengthy and particularly costly and uncertain custody battle. Perhaps most importantly, spare your children from being stuck in the middle.

An experienced mediator can serve as an effective neutral to help you and your spouse navigate the relevant issues together and enable you to maintain empowerment in the process and communicate your perspectives on custody and support matters. The mediator will ensure that both spouses find a constructive middle ground that may well include crafting creative solutions designed to suit your family.

Smoother sailing for Co-Parenting.

For example, if you have younger children, the co-parenting process is more of a marathon as opposed to a sprint. Because you and your spouse will need to co-parent for years to come, it indeed remains in everyone's best interests to work towards a divorce process that remains as amicable as possible. Many experts have concluded that it is the potential level of conflict that parents experience with one another that acts as a particularly significant predictor of whether children will experience problems following their parents' divorce. Resolving your issues through Mediation reduces conflict and feelings of anger, resentment, and hostility that might otherwise surface in the litigation process.

Those skills you utilize and may even learn in Mediation will also help establish a stronger foundation for a cooperative co-parenting relationship following your divorce. It is important to note how your children will also benefit from both an emotional and psychological perspective from observing their parents reconcile and finding solutions.

Reduce Stress. Save Time and Save Money.

Certainly, one of the most significant stressors for folks even contemplating the divorce process, much less experiencing that process, is the amount of time and money that may be involved, not to mention the particularly unpredictable nature of those factors. Many factors influence the amount of time it takes, including, among other things, there are often weeks scheduled between court hearings. Plus, there is a formal process for disclosures and discovery. Then, depending on how many issues need to be resolved in court, your divorce might take months to a year and potentially more. Those wear on any person and will do the same to your children.

In contrast to a lengthy litigation process, Mediation can be successful in just a few sessions, depending on the number and complexity of issues involved. Those sessions are all scheduled based on the mediator and you and your spouse's availability so there are no surprises, and you all can remain empowered as in control of the outcome. Saving time and money that would have been spent on litigation reduces stress for most anyone. Having more control of your schedule with the Mediation process also means that you can avoid missing work for court. 

The best part is that you will have that much more time and financial resources for yourself and your children.

About the Author

John D. Kershman

John focuses his practice on Family Law litigation and Family Law Mediation. He is a member of the IACP - International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, as well as the AMM - Association of Missouri Mediators, and the APFM - Academy of Professional Family Mediators and Member of the Hague Convention Attorney Network through the U.S. Department of State. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.


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