For many parents in Texas who have made the decision to divorce, resolving child custody and visitation issues can be some of the most complex matters associated with the end of the marriage. While the parents may be comfortable with the end of their personal or romantic relationship, it can be challenging for parents to consider having significantly reduced time with their children. All too frequently, custody can turn into a contentious, expensive and emotionally stressful battle.
However, child custody can also be one of the most appropriate topics to tackle in divorce mediation. Mediation involves the divorcing couple and often their family law attorneys coming together to discuss shared goals and outcomes in a non-adversarial environment. In the case of child custody mediation, the goal is to develop a parenting plan that works for both parents and emphasizes the best interests of the children. In a situation where abuse or neglect is not a concern, this type of mediation allows parents to put their own issues aside to center the best interests of the child.
Child custody mediation can also help children handle the divorce. Pitched battles over custody, while sometimes necessary, can be difficult for children who witness their parents’ fighting. In some cases, it can intensify kids’ feelings of responsibility for the divorce. Because this type of mediation promotes parents working together for the children, it can help set up a more positive co-parenting relationship moving forward.
Divorce mediation can play an important role in resolving key issues for couples who are able to maintain a more amicable environment. Mediation can involve both spouses’ family law attorneys; by avoiding the courtroom and reaching a negotiated settlement on matters like child custody as well as asset division or spousal support, the divorcing spouses may be able to protect their privacy and move forward from the relationship.