Finding Joint Custody Solutions Through Mediation
There are several major advantages to mediating your divorce compared to litigation. Among the biggest advantages is that mediation rewards creativity, cooperation and positive communication between parents on child-related issues. For parents who can look past negative emotions towards each other, the key to a cooperative co-parenting relationship often arises out of mutual respect and thoughtful communication during the mediation process.
Thankfully, mediation offers solutions to many of the shared custody challenges above, including the following:
Creating a schedule that encourages strong and consistent routines for children. One advantage experienced by children who primarily reside with one parent is that the children have a more consistent “home base” from which they can plan and live their every-day lives. Parents who share custody must ensure that children have consistent routines between households to undertake tasks such as doing homework and ensuring rides to and from after school activities.
Choosing a parenting schedule that compliments each parent’s work schedule. Work responsibilities often vary widely between parents, with one parent better equipped to deal with unexpected changes – such as a child staying home sick from school – than the other. Parents who can foresee these concerns and “bake in” solutions for the future often do best in shared custody arrangements.
Creating a parenting plan that is built to last. Finally, mediation rewards parents who think ahead. Caring for a 4-year old is very different than caring for a 14-year old. Parents can’t foresee every possible future issue involving their children, but mediation encourages parents to consider and communicate about the future, including (a.) positive goals and outcomes the parents would like to see for their children and (b.) potential pitfalls and complications they may face down the road.