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Your Marriage Story — Loving Your Kids by Mediating Your Divorce

Rachel Alexander Feb. 26, 2020

{5 minutes to read}  Of all the reasons to mediate — in the Hamptons or anywhere — the welfare of the children is perhaps the best.

For parents who prioritize the well-being of their children and are concerned about the impact of divorce, mediation proffers the most loving, protective approach. In fact, a mediated divorce, and the subsequent harmonious separation it encourages, can produce a healthier environment for children than that of a dysfunctional marriage. Divorcing amicably, rather than staying together “for the children,” is often the more responsible parenting choice.

Family By Design

Divorce addresses a marriage that isn’t working. A mediated divorce addresses the family affected by that broken marriage.

Mediation protects assets. Firstly, by shielding them from being wasted in gratuitous litigation.

However, assets are not only financial, and the most precious assets are often intangible. Our holdings include what we hold dear. Our values, more than our valuables, influence our decisions. Though non-numerical and possibly immeasurable assets may include self-regard, emotional wellness, peace of mind, and physical health. Under this broad, umbrellaing definition, we may also consider our children.

From the outset, mediating parents demonstrate several things their litigating counterparts cannot. Chiefly, mediating parents model their capacity and willingness to overcome conflict together. By mediating, despite their individual need to be apart, parents exemplify a commitment to unify in a new way for the benefit of their children. By enacting mature problem solving, demonstrating perspective, and determining to prioritize values over impulses, parents help children feel safely held and protected. Children are reassured by parents who are embodying their best selves.

Divorced or not, parenting together is usually non-negotiable.

Mediation not only shields children from becoming embattled in parental warfare, but it also champions children by encouraging parents to freshly approach and redesign the family. When Hamptons parents mediated divorce, they can authentically explore fundamental parenting issues. Parents can redefine mutual goals for their children and realign with one another’s values. Divorced or not, parenting together is usually non-negotiable. The negotiation is on how to co-parent, cohesively and effectively, or adversarially. As co-parenting may continue for 15-20 years after a divorce is final, creating a sturdy parenting foundation will influence the quality of life for each family member for decades. With the mediator, families in the Hamptons are able to make decisions in advance about such things as:

  • Talking to children about the divorce

  • Creating and communicating your “divorce narrative”

  •  Scheduling weekday, weekend, and holiday time with children

  • Children’s participation in, and scheduling of, extra-curricular activities;

  • Travel within and outside of the country

  •  Consistency between households for children with a home comprised of two houses, dealing with such things as:

    • Homework

    • Bedtime

    • Chores and responsibilities

    • Privileges

    • Screen time on electronic devices

    • Appropriate discipline and its enforcement between households

  • Involvement of significant others and extended family members

  • Management of future conflicts

In mediation, parents also address complex, foundational issues that shape day-to-day decisions:

  • What kind of parenting relationship is needed for the children to feel secure, valued and loved? What will that require from each of you?

  • What does the family as a whole require to be healthy, stable, and better, while expanding over two separate households?

  • What types of support and reassurance does your child respond to? What can each of you do to provide more of that?

  • Which verbal and non-verbal communications should you be alert for in the children? What is to be expected during the transition of divorce? What may signal a need for professional intervention?

  • How can parents help children to attach securely and develop the skills to create secure attachments with others over a lifetime?

  • What parenting skills might you acquire to decrease your own anxieties about the impact of the divorce?

These inquiries generally aren’t raised, much less attended to, in a litigated divorce. In mediation in the Hamptons, parenting children through a divorce and afterwards is a central focus.

Mediation provides a place to intervene collaboratively and creatively with families. In mediation, parties are informed and educated on the developmental challenges facing kids generally, and divorced kids in particular; and parents are empowered as to how to make the most difference.