It’s one of those moments every parent dreads: telling your children Mom and Dad are getting a divorce. No matter how you feel about each other, you’ll always be parents. And you can make a divorce easier on your children by deciding to work together on a life apart.
Divorce mediation helps you and your partner work together on key separation issues. From division of assets and child support to spousal support and parenting plans, a trained mediator will guide you towards a separation agreement that works for each of you and your children.
In fact, recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act favour mediation over hiring lawyers because it puts children first.
Here’s why mediation makes divorce easier on your children (and both of you):
Your children will see you communicating in a healthy way
“Intense conflict between parents has been shown to increase children’s distress. Overt hostility, such as screaming and threatening one another has been linked to behavior problems in children.”
(source: Verywell Family)
A mediator teaches you strategies to communicate effectively and deal with conflicts that arise. You’ll learn valuable skills during your mediation sessions that will spill over into everyday life as you navigate your ‘new normal’ as a family.
Your kids are watching so your ability to keep the peace in those ‘hard to cope’ moments will model positive behaviour.
You’ll achieve a new family dynamic faster
You’ve heard the stories from friends about divorces that take years to finalize. In these cases, the stress and strain on your children is prolonged.
Mediation creates an environment that encourages negotiation, making it much easier to resolve issues.
Structure and a sense of security are both important for a child’s well being. Couples who are focused on cooperation can have a new family framework set up much faster so kids will know what to expect.
You’ll have control over your family’s future
When you’re on opposing sides and you’re communicating through lawyers, finding common ground becomes increasingly difficult. This can lead to a courtroom battle and decisions about your family’s future end up in the hands of a judge.
Mediation avoids a potentially devastating outcome for everyone involved. The goal is to come to terms on key issues that you can both agree on. Most importantly, you get equal say in how your children will be parented.
Mediation sessions will be dedicated specifically to parenting issues.
- How it will be split: Week on/week off, every other weekend, etc.
- Holidays: School vacations, religious holidays, other special occasions
- Extra-curricular activities
- Childcare expenses
- Educational expenses
- Culture, language, religion or spirituality
The end of your relationship with your spouse doesn’t mean an end to a healthy relationship with your children. The sooner you can all move forward, the sooner your children can adjust to, and thrive, in their ‘new normal’. And mediation can make the journey easier for everyone.