Divorce has a significant impact on children. Many may feel guilty and may believe they are the cause of the divorce. Some may become aggressive or begin to withdraw. Divorce can introduce lots of new emotions to kids that can be challenging to process. Parents may be able to help their children by working through the divorce together. Mediation offers that path forward.

Mediation is an alternative to divorce litigation that brings two disputing parties to a resolution together. It focuses on communication and compromise — two beneficial aspects of functional families.

Distinct differences with mediation

Mediation differs from litigation in several ways, each of which may provide a benefit to the children:

  • Confidentiality: Courtroom litigation becomes a matter of public record, meaning everything you say may return in a future lawsuit. With mediation, everything said is confidential, protecting children from learning anything unfortunate said by their parents during a heated exchange.
  • Mediator: In a courtroom, a judge will listen to arguments and hand out a ruling. In mediation, the couple will agree on a neutral third party to serve as the mediator. This individual will use communication and empathy practices to help disputing parties understand each other’s concerns. A mediator will guide the couple toward a resolution that satisfies each party, and one upon which they both agree. Learning these communication skills may help co-parents work together throughout their parenting relationship.
  • Outside of a courtroom: Due to court schedules, civil cases may spend years in litigation. Depending on the age of the children, this can take up a significant portion of their life. Mediation does not occur inside a courtroom or within a court schedule. Two motivated people may find a satisfactory resolution within months, allowing a family to move on from the trauma of separation and focus on building their new family dynamic.
  • Enthusiastic compliance: People who use mediation to resolve disputes tend to stick to those resolutions. If a future dispute does arise, mediated agreements also outline procedures for resolving those disputes as well, usually through more mediation.

Use the method best for the family

Sometimes abusive situations do not allow for a mediated divorce. In those cases, litigation may be the only option for a concerned parent. In those cases, a judge will usually rule in favor of what is best for the children. With mediation, holding similar guidelines will help disputing parties maintain their priorities. Anyone going through a divorce may want to bring their questions to a local lawyer experienced with family law. An attorney can help navigate the paperwork of divorce and allow parents to keep their focus on the children.