We often talk about the role family law mediators can take in making divorce with children involved less stressful and disruptive for the whole family, including the young people directly affected, but what about more complex divorce cases involving multiple children, step-children or adopted children?
Already this month we have considered divorce cases with adopted children – whether you have one or more children adopted by one or both parents – but we also encounter many complex divorce cases involving multiple biological children or step-children.
The involvement of more than one child can raise several significant questions:
- Do they agree on which parent they want to live with?
- Do they agree on how much time they want to visit with the other parent?
- Are their needs approximately the same?
For example on this last point, your case might involve any combination of children where both parties are biological parents, step-children to one or the other party, or both.
Cutting through complex divorce cases
Divorce cases involving multiple children can be exponentially more complicated – each additional child has a direct one-on-one relationship with each parent and each sibling, not to mention considerations of the family unit as a whole, future financial and residential arrangements, and so on.
Family law mediators are adept at cutting through complex divorce cases and crucially, we do this not by shutting anyone out of the conversation, but by providing an independent and pragmatic listening ear for the parents and children alike.
This allows us to formulate plans that offer the closest possible solution to what everybody wants. That might mean letting the children choose which parent to live with, or if this is not possible, creating amicable visiting rights that keep the family together even though the parents are separated.
Preventing the worst-case scenario
In the worst-case scenario, acrimonious divorce proceedings can leave the parents unwilling to have any direct contact with one another – and this can even lead to siblings being separated permanently if they choose not to live with the same parent.
We believe it is important to avoid this level of family breakdown and to ensure that children’s interests are protected wherever possible.
This is why family law mediators work hard to identify amicable and less stressful ways forward – not only to avoid the worst-case scenario, but to identify the best-case scenario that can then be ratified by the courts.