Your children may have heard the two of you arguing and knew that something wasn’t right. These days, your children may already be aware of divorce and understand what it means because they have friends whose parents divorced. If that’s the case, then they have probably heard both good and bad stories about how it affected their friends’ families.

Even as your marital relationship ends, your children need to know that both of you will remain in their lives. They will want to know that you will make choices regarding custody and visitation that make that happen. For these reasons, you and the other parent decided to put aside your feelings about your marital relationship in order to focus on your parental one. The problem is you aren’t sure how to proceed.

Keep things as friendly as possible

That may sound like a tall order at first, but with some help, you could probably make it happen. After all, you already decided to keep your children’s needs ahead of your own feelings. You may find mediation a useful tool as you work to create a parenting plan with which everyone can live. Consider the following benefits of taking this route:

  • It relieves some of the stress and pressure your children may feel. They know that their parents are working together for their best interests.
  • There’s no need to play the blame game.
  • The process encourages compromise and cooperation — two skills you will need for co-parenting.
  • Mediation removes the adversarial component of a traditional courtroom battle.
  • You may develop new communication skills with the other parent.
  • You can focus on the future instead of the past.
  • You can create a future in which you remain a family despite the divorce.
  • You can create a conflict resolution method that could help prevent unnecessary arguments in the future.
  • Mediation often costs less than litigation.

You also retain control over the outcome, which means you may be more invested in adhering to the agreement. No one expects you and your future ex-spouse to become best friends, but if you can at least build a foundation of mutual respect for each other as parents during the mediation process, you may find a way to work together well into the future. You may also help your children get through this transition so they aren’t telling their friends a horror story about their experience with divorce.