We see time and time again how child-inclusive mediation can help to make young people’s voices heard during divorce – and the benefits this has in keeping them ‘in the loop’ while reducing the level of stress placed upon their young shoulders.
Mediation gives children and other dependants an equal voice in the process, and while that does not mean you must overly compromise to accommodate them, it makes sure that the decisions you make as the two main divorcing parties properly reflect your children’s own concerns about their welfare.
This allows you to put in place appropriate preparations for their future – such as where they will live, how long they will spend with each parent, what the handover arrangements will be, and whether you are on amicable enough terms to co-parent together in person when it is necessary, such as at school events.
But good co-parenting after divorce doesn’t just mean putting in place static plans and refusing to adjust them as your child’s needs change, which is why at Marcia Mediation we often keep in touch for the long term to help you with future situations too.
One of the best ways to co-parent after divorce is to continue to let your child’s voice be heard on issues that directly affect them – and even on broader issues that impact on the whole family.
Many young people can feel torn apart by divorce, and especially if both parents move out of the former family home due to financial concerns or bad memories of the place, this can leave children trying to settle into two new homes at once.
You can help them to do this by making sure both locations are ‘home’ to them – not that one parent is home while the other is just somewhere they visit once a week.
Give your child responsibility over what belongings and clothing they keep in each location, and don’t insist that everything they take with them for a visit comes back from the same trip.
Obviously there are practical concerns, such as making sure they have enough clothing in each place, but it is empowering to ask them “Can you bring…?” ahead of their next handover, rather than closely policing which clothes are where at all times.
Ultimately, co-parenting at its best puts the child’s welfare first anyway, within the broader context of your household setting, finances and so on.
Divorce mediation can do this during the legal process but afterwards your actions as two individual and newly separated parents can have a big impact on how your child reacts to your divorce – so if in doubt, let Marcia Mediation help you to get it right, for the mutual benefit of everyone in your family.