Shared parenting; disputes over child-arrangements

Separation and divorce brings out strong emotions in couples; trying to make contact arrangements for your children can be a fraught, unhappy process. The psychological damage to children experiencing their parents’ contentious divorces can be lasting.

Making arrangements for shared-parenting when emotions are running high is very difficult. In this situation when feelings have become embittered, children caught up in the fight can be used as pawns or bargaining chips. Skilled, expert mediation can help you.

Choosing an experienced mediation professional can lower the emotional temperature and help you to work towards a sensible, flexible co-parenting schedule that takes into account the best interests of your children. Mediators are neutral and will encourage calm communication in such a way that both parents feel heard and understood.

Mediation can take place together in one room or in two rooms; mediators understand how to arrange matters to achieve the best result possible. A good mediator will win the trust of both parents and work in a partnership with you to achieve a plan that is best suited to your children.

Mediations concerning shared-parenting plans are usually two-hours long and are spaced every few weeks often over 4-6 sessions. You can decide a contact plan for the short term, perhaps the next few weeks or months, to observe how your child fares. This is especially so with small children who need time to adjust to the changes. Subsequent short mediation sessions are sometimes useful every few months to iron our parenting issues and assess and review the contact arrangements.

Mediators are neutral facilitators and are not evaluative or arbitrators. Their job is to help you arrive at a plan together that that is best for your children and workable for yourselves.

Other issues that can be discussed in child arrangements mediations are ‘agreed behaviours’. This means that you both agree how you will behave towards each other, that you will communicate using respectful language, keeping distressing disputes away from your children.

Children feel their parents’ emotions very deeply; they may think they have to take sides or to be ‘brave’. Mediation keeps the dispute away from the children and helps you to formulate a plan that is best for their well-being.

Using the court system to decide your children’s arrangements means that decisions are taken out of your hands and the shape of your contact with your children will be ‘dictated’ to you.

How much better to mediate and make such important decisions for yourself.

  • Court is expensive and time-consuming.
  • You may not get the result you want.
  • Mediators are neutral
  • Mediators will help you come to decisions that are in your children’s best interests.
  • Mediators understand how painful the breakdown of a relationship can be.
  • Mediators are sensitive and have experienced a wide-range of family disputes.
  • Mediators are not arbitrators; they will help you to come to your own shared-residence plan.
  • Mediators work with you to agree more respectful communication
  • Mediators help you both to arrive at age-appropriate child arrangements which are in the best interests of your children.