Just like so many other Florida parents, you want what is best for your children. You spent every day since their births protecting them as much as possible. Now that you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you aren't sure how to continue protecting them.
The thing is, your children probably already knew that something wasn't right. It can be difficult to hide marital problems from children. However, what you do now could help them through the inevitable changes that come with divorce.
Avoid the courtroom if at all possible
The more you avoid the courtroom, the better off your children, and you, will be in the end. One area where a great deal of contention becomes possible is the issue of child custody. Both of you want to remain in your children's lives as much as possible despite the coming changes. Battling about it in court does no one any good in the short or long term. You could take another road -- mediation -- that provides numerous benefits to parents in your position:
- A process that focuses on the future instead of blaming each other
- A neutral party to keep you both on track when conflicts arise
- The focus that remains on what is best for the children
- A process aimed at reducing the stress of the situation
- The opportunity to create a foundation the two of you can build on as co-parents
- A process that often costs less than going to court
- The creation of a parenting plan everyone can live with
- A chance to minimize the stress on your children
- The opportunity to show your children you value them more than arguing
Mediation could provide your family with a better way to design its future. In addition to the benefits above, you and the other parent retain control over the outcome. You are free to think outside the box and find solutions that will work best for your family. If you go to court, the judge doesn't know you or your family and probably won't reach a conclusion that satisfies everyone.
Moreover, when you create your own parenting plan, both of you are more willing to adhere to its provisions. Even with all of the benefits mediation can provide, you still need to protect your rights. You should go into the process with all of the information you need to make informed decisions that benefit your children yet protect your parental rights.