Children in Mediation
Divorce proceedings often include issues which can directly, and indirectly, impact the emotions and lives of the children of the divorcing parents. This can lead to situations where children feel trapped between two parents who are fighting over issues like child custody, parenting time, relocation, and more. Even young children can be very in tune with the emotional cues given by both parents, particularly during an already stressful time. For this and many other reasons, choosing mediation to resolve disputes when children are involved can be an attractive option.
The mediation attorneys of Jacobs Berger believe that the value of a qualified mediator is that they will attempt to diffuse any hostility in the room and try to create an environment of respectful conflict resolution. Whether acting as your divorce attorney or as the mediator for both parties, our qualified legal team understands that each individual and each case is unique. This is why we take pride in offering personalized and multidimensional solutions for our clients throughout New Jersey towns.
Call our office today for a confidential and comprehensive case assessment with one of our qualified and experienced divorce and family law attorneys discussing your dispute involving children and the possibility of using mediation as a tool.
Divorce Mediation Attorneys: Why Mediation May be Better for Parents and Children
For many children, a divorce is the first time that they realize their parents are more than just mom and dad, they are human beings as well. A sudden and major shift in family dynamics can be difficult for everyone involved, but particularly for children who need stability and structure to feel safe and secure. To lessen the stresses put on children going through a divorce, our Dover divorce mediation attorneys believe that mediation is a great alternative to traditional divorce litigation for several key reasons:
- Mom and Dad aren’t trying to “win” – Litigation is a legal contest in its purest form. There are issues to be won and lost, and the other party’s loss is inherently your gain. Mediation provides a mutually beneficial approach to conflict resolution
- The needs of children come first – A mediation is a process through which the end result is an amicable agreement between all parties. This allows parents to focus on the needs of their children as the primary goal, rather than a secondary one to getting the custody or other arrangements they desire the most as parents
- Avoiding the blame game – Similar to the above, mediation allows a platform for both parents and children to express their point of views without necessarily targeting another party
- Presenting a mature and united front – Children are intelligent and sensitive enough to understand that the mere act of attempting mediation and trying to work out conflicts as a team is a positive step
- Mediation sets the table for further communications – As co-parents, you and your ex spouse will continue to have a relationship which will require ongoing communication. Mediation can be a great first step as well as a learning tool
Will Children be Actively Involved in the Mediation Process?
While children will certainly not be heavily involved in the mediation process, there are certain situations in which a child’s input is both appropriate and productive. Naturally, situations, where the child is either too young or simply does not want to participate, may preclude any formal involvement in the mediation process.
Our Morris County mediation attorneys also understand that children may get dragged into a dispute one way or another. For example, if an issue comes up during mediation (or litigation or arbitration for that matter) and it is on the mind of a parent, he or she may take the question back to the child. Without the guidance of a mediator, questions like “who would you rather live with?” or “don’t you want to stay with me?” can be incredibly difficult for children to deal with emotionally and psychologically.
Simply put, children should never be asked to choose between their parents.
With children who are old enough, our mediation attorneys may find it appropriate to formally ask children about certain issues pertaining to their schedule and lives in general. Before doing so, both parents must agree that they are comfortable with the child’s involvement in the mediation process. Questions will be limited to acquiring information without forcing the children to make decisions.
Contact our Family Mediation Attorneys Today
At The Law Offices of Jacobs Berger, our family mediation attorneys have extensive experience using mediation to resolve conflicts for families across local New Jersey communities. As a law firm, we believe in protecting our clients’ legal rights. As mediators, we aim to build a foundation of communication and cooperation between parents that will carry them not only through the legal process, but into the future as well.
If you or a loved one are considering mediation as an alternative to litigation for your divorce or family law dispute involving children, please contact us online or through our Morristown offices by dialing (973) 710-4366 today for a confidential and comprehensive case assessment with one of our qualified attorneys.