In the beginning of a divorce, it may be difficult to envision a time when you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will get along. After all, if you were getting along, you wouldn't be getting divorced. Right? Not necessarily. Just because you come to the realization that your marriage no longer works doesn't mean that you can't have an amicable, or at least civil, relationship afterward.
Even if you can't see it now, if you have children, working toward it could make things easier on everyone now and in the future. One way to lay a foundation for a better relationship after the divorce is by mediating your child custody agreement and parenting plan.
How could mediation do that?
Of course, mediation isn't some magic pill that automatically makes you and the other parent get along. Instead, it provides an atmosphere that encourages the two of you to work together toward a common goal -- providing the best possible future for your children. It does this through the following benefits:
- Placing blame has no place in mediation.
- The process strives to reduce conflict.
- The process helps to reduce stress.
- Looking forward to the future replaces looking back.
- The atmosphere is not adversarial like a courtroom.
- The mediator doesn't take sides.
- The mediator helps the two of you improve your communication.
- Learning to work together to come to an agreement can carry into your post-divorce life.
- Everybody wins.
- It's easier on your kids.
Last, but certainly not least, mediation often costs less than going to court. This could alleviate some of the stress associated with the divorce.
Making your agreement "court-friendly"
Knowing that you get to retain control over your future can be a powerful motivator to reach an agreement without involving the court. However, that does not mean that the court has nothing to do with the final result. Whatever arrangements you and the other parent make still need the approval of the court. This means that your agreement must reflect the best interests of your children.
Reaching that standard may seem easy to you since you strive to put your children first, but this does not necessarily mean that your efforts will pass the scrutiny of the court. In order to help ensure that your plan meets the court's standard, it would more than likely be beneficial to have someone advocating for you who knows what the court looks for when reviewing custody agreements and parenting plans.