Divorce is an unsettling time for both the partners who grew apart and especially (and often even more so) – for their children. Prior to deciding to get a divorce, parents may have argued in front of their children, or otherwise not knowingly made them a part of the arguments. Even without the heated arguments, disagreements and exchange of harsh words, divorce is difficult for a child to come to terms with.
That is why it is crucial that former partners (but still parents) take the time to reflect on what their relationship as co-parents will be. Divorce and co-parenting go hand in hand more often than not. Ground rules ought to be established on different matters, and it is crucial that co-parents are on the same page. The main reason for finding a common parenting style is to avoid sending out conflicting messages to the child. This is where a reliable divorce mediation San Diego expert can be of great help.
Former partners, now co-parents, should do a lot of thinking of their own even before stepping into the office of a divorce mediator. They should try and explain their preferred parenting philosophy to themselves first. There are some crucial questions to be answered:
What kind of a parent do I want to be moving forward? Is there anything I would like to change?
What parenting role models did I have growing up? Chances are I will fall back on the same parenting style I was exposed to if presented with a parenting challenge for the first time, so is there anything I resent about my own upbringing?
Am I prepared to trust my former partner with taking care of our child? And if not, what led me to distrust his/her parenting abilities? Can it be that the pain because of the end of our romantic relationship is clouding my judgment?
There is a lot of soul searching to be done, all with a single goal in mind: to reach the agreement that is in the best interest of the child.
Even though divorce mediation is a process aimed at helping co-parents find a solution they will both be satisfied with, they should be emotionally prepared to hear out one another during the mediation. This mindset is very important when entering a divorce mediation process.
As Alair Olson, a licensed marriage and family therapist, wrote in a particularly compassionate blog post on co-parenting, the relationship between the parents is an enormous influence on a child’s development, regardless of whether they are married, separated or divorced. It can be argued that married couples who argue in front of their children and treat each other with disdain and disrespect do more damage than divorced co-parents who treat each other with respect.
The whole point (as is the point of divorce mediation) is for co-parents to realize they can respect each other despite their differences. They may have conflicting views on co-parenting, which may even be one of the reasons for their separation. Still, it is their duty as parents to put their children first and see past their disagreements. The focus should be shifted away from their marital issues to their child. This seemingly small shift in focus often makes the biggest difference. All of a sudden, former spouses become partners again, as they join forces in planning the best co-parenting strategy.
Divorce mediation does not try to resolve the issues between former partners so they could remain married. Instead, it aims to give them new perspective and help them feel comfortable in their new roles as co-parents. As said earlier, divorce and co-parenting are virtually inseparable, with co-parenting being a significantly more emotional issue to resolve that the division of joint assets.
Since the basic purpose of divorce mediation is to find mutually beneficial solutions for estranged spouses, it should provide the best possible environment for productive discussion. Unlike other divorce mediators, Pacific Coast Mediation provides a team approach to divorce mediation and discussions regarding the co-parenting plan, with a male and female mediator as well as an MFT if requested. By having a supportive team of mediators of both sexes, the risk of perceived bias of one gender is eliminated. In that way, a more professional setting is established, which also contributes to both parties seeing their issues less emotionally and more objectively.
Pacific Coast Mediation offers in-person and online divorce mediation. Contact us today and let’s work on mutually beneficial solutions together.