Mediation is the Answer When the Courts Can't Seem to Get it Right
When parents of minor children decide to go their separate ways, it’s scary for the parents and children. Both parents, while at odds, are worried about the best interests of their children and might have different ideas about what that is. It takes a lot of patience and compassion to find common ground, and that’s in short supply during a separation and divorce. Most parents would assume that the court knows how to fix the issues between the parents and that the right thing will happen once they go through the litigation process. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Far from it.
The attached article makes it clear that not all jurisdictions are up to date on the most recent studies about children regarding custody arrangements. In fact, there are no universal means for resolving custody, determining the best interest of the children, or custody requirements. For example, the Ohio counties discussed in the article below have sweeping provisions allowing only two nights of overnight visitation every 14 days for the non-domiciliary parent. This is at complete odds with all recent studies which suggest that equal parenting time should be encouraged. In Louisiana, while shared custody is preferred, it is undoubtedly not ordered every time it should be, and sometimes it's called when it is simply not feasible.
Notwithstanding that, what about flexibility for families? Not all families are the same. They have different traditions and cultural values. They have varying work schedules. Ultimately, it is a complete disservice to have such a rigid approach to parenting time with each parent. The ages children command other things from their parents. It seems remiss for a court not to consider that.
That’s why mediation is the best option for most separating couples. It’s an opportunity for parents to sit at a table together and discuss what’s best for their children. At the end of the process, the couple has decided what’s best for their family. It hasn’t been left up to a third-party judge who doesn’t know the parties, the children, or the traditions and values of the family. Those families that make their own decisions about how to move forward after a separation tend to be more satisfied with their custody arrangement than those with a schedule imposed on them by a court.
Featured Article: Divorce is hard enough on children — why are our courts making it worse?