Mediation is a Better Option for Couples with Children

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsA divorce is tough for any couple, but add children to the mix, and it becomes a completely different league. In some cases, the parents may come to the mediation session expecting the mediator to sort out disputes regarding the settlements and time sharing arrangements. There have even been cases where the children are made to speak directly with the mediator. It should be avoided at all costs.

Using children

First off, never, ever, use your children as bargaining chips. It is a cheap shot, and if the kids are old enough to see what is happening, they will resent you both for doing it. So keep them out of the sessions, do not use them as roommates, they are not there to get you a better deal through emotional blackmail. Also, certain things will be said and discussed that your children are better off not knowing till they are old and experienced enough.

Avoid making the children choose at all costs. If you put your children on the spot and get the mediator to actually have a session with them and ask them what they want, it normally does not work out well. Children should never have to choose between parents, that is a soul-crushing situation, one that not many can recover easily from.

Another reason why this should not be done is that young children may not be able to see the bigger picture and simply go for the parent who is nice to them, not the one who disciplines them. If the child’s mother is doting and loving and gets the child all the ice cream he or she ever wants, for example, the child may make the choice based on chocolate and ice cream. Children also do not want to disappoint their parents, so a choice is doubly difficult.

A lot of this will and may happen in a litigation process. Children bear the brunt of not only losing their family and the home they grew up in, but also see their parents rip each other up in public, and are often made to go through the same messy battle their parents are having with each other, often about money. While it may not be evident right away, it will get ingrained in their minds. For this and more, mediation is the best way to go with couples with children. They can be kept out of the room, and will never have to see or hear what happens. The news can be broken down and explained to them properly afterwards.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation