3 advantages to using mediation for child custody agreements

Mediation is a tool used by the courts to iron out decisions for a variety of reasons like divorce or contract disputes. Florida courts may order mediation for issues about child custody or the parents may attend mediation before a court hearing. There are benefits to using mediation to decide a parenting plan.

1. Neutral third party

Like the judge in a courtroom, a mediator does not take sides. He or she is a neutral third party who facilitates discussions between the parents. Unlike a judge, the mediator does not determine the outcome of the meeting. Agreements cannot come to fruition unless both parties approve.

2. Less stress on parents and children

Contested and adversarial custody disputes create a negative impact on children. Bringing home the frustrations and stress from a trial may keep their focus on what they are feeling and not the emotional well-being of their children.

Since mediation is between the parents and does not involve the court, it can be quicker than going to trial. Depending on the complexity of the case, meetings may take one or two weeks, while a trial can drag on for months, increasing stress on the entire family.

3. Easy communication

Mediation may be less threatening and less stressful than a courtroom trial. Mediations are private, where parents can speak freely. Parents may also learn to communicate better with each other and create an effective working relationship for the betterment of their children.

Before attending a child custody mediation, parents should prepare to explain their ideas for a parenting plan. It may help the negotiations to bring a sample plan with schedules and provisions.

Could “bird-nesting” help your kids adjust to your divorce?

When you and your former spouse part ways, you may prioritize keeping things as normal as possible for any children you share. Increasingly, divorcing parents across Florida who share similar objectives are opting for a “bird-nesting” arrangement to minimize changes their children must face after their parents split.

What is bird-nesting, and how might it help minimize the impact of divorce on your children?

Defining bird-nesting

Per NBC News, bird-nesting refers to a residential arrangement that keeps your children living in the same home they did before your divorce. Instead of the kids switching between your home and that of your ex, you and your ex do the switching, with one staying in the once-shared home with the kids while the other stays elsewhere.

It may not be feasible for you and your ex to each maintain your own separate home in a bird-nesting arrangement. Often, former couples practicing bird-nesting keep a small or studio apartment close by that each parent uses when not staying in the family home.

Recognizing the advantages of bird-nesting

You may want to consider bird-nesting if your kids have concerns about having to switch schools or leave their existing social circles. Moving back and forth between homes may make it harder for your kids to maintain the relationships they have come to value.

A bird-nesting arrangement may also have logistical advantages. Your children spend less time moving back and forth between homes, and they do not have to pack a bag each time when doing so. Your kids may also benefit from having all of their belongings and valuables in a single place, preventing trips from one home to the other to collect forgotten belongings.

5 common traits of a respectful divorce

Too many people assume that a divorce must be painful and contentious. However, the fact is that many divorcing spouses want to end their marriage without destroying each other’s lives. They prefer to take an amicable, considerate approach to the process.

If this is what you are hoping for, take note of these common traits that often contribute to a respectful divorce.

Characteristics of a respectful divorce

  1. They avoid litigation. Staying out of court is critical in keeping a divorce peaceful. Litigating family legal matters pits parties against each other, fostering feelings of anger and aggression instead of incentivizing cooperation and negotiation. As such, parties seeking a respectful divorce typically utilize non-litigious models like mediation or collaborative or cooperative divorce.
  2. Parties minimize mudslinging. Often, divorces turn ugly when parties set out to hurt each other, rather than work together. In an amicable split, divorcing spouses refrain from badmouthing each other in front of the children and keep sensitive information off social media. They respect each other’s privacy and do not attempt to harass each other.
  3. Children are the top priority. One reason why people often want to remain respectful during divorce is to protect the children. If your children are your top priority, keep in mind that you may be divorcing your partner, but your children will still have both parents. Staying civil and resolving matters cooperatively can make it easier for you both to remain active in your children’s lives and shield them from unnecessary conflict.
  4. Parties appreciate the difference between fair and equal. Fairness allows both parties to enjoy an equitable outcome. However, that does not mean each person gets equal shares of property or parenting time. Knowing the difference makes it easier to reach agreeable terms regarding equitable property division and co-parenting schedules.
  5. Parties ask for help. Seeking help can be a critical component in keeping the peace during divorce, as it can alleviate the expectations and stress on the divorcing spouses. Attorneys can manage the legal aspects of the process; financial professionals can provide guidance on monetary issues; counselors can help with understanding mental health issues and the best interests of the children.

If you are hoping for a respectful divorce, knowing these common traits can help you make decisions that support your goals.

Highlighting the positive aspects of divorce

Sometimes, people think of negative issues that arise in the wake of a divorce, from a bitter dispute over child custody to financial hardships (such as property division and problems related to child support). However, it is critical to recognize the positive side of divorce. In fact, research shows that ending a marriage often benefits individuals in many ways.

If you are unsure about whether to get divorced or stay in a marriage, there are many factors to consider and everyone is in a unique position. However, it is smart to consider some of the ways in which moving on from a toxic marriage benefits the lives of many people.

Reviewing some of the benefits of divorce

On their website, the United States Census Bureau recently published research that highlights some of the benefits of filing for divorce, especially from a woman’s perspective. Often, women have more free time and spend more time in the workplace after moving on from a marriage. Moreover, domestic violence rates decrease and female suicides are also less likely when divorce laws are simpler and couples have the ability to work through their divorce in a more timely manner.

Reviewing ways to simplify the divorce process

In some instances, divorce is a very time-consuming and emotionally draining process. Fighting, stress and other challenges often arise when a couple splits up, but there are steps people can take to make their divorce easier. Sometimes, collaboration is an option and many couples are able to work together. Even when an amicable divorce is impossible, people can improve their circumstances by carefully going over their legal options.