When a divorcing couple has minor children, the law requires issues of parental responsibility, timesharing and child support to be resolved in the best interest of the children. In the traditional adversarial divorce or paternity proceeding, the judge is tasked with deciding these issues if the parents are unable to reach an agreement, and due to the ever-expanding family court dockets and the overall nature of litigated proceedings, the judge will have to make such decisions based solely on the evidence presented in court. It goes without saying that many things can impact how the judge perceives this evidence, including the skill and experience of the divorce attorneys, the body language and demeanor of the witnesses at the hearing, and time limitations imposed by the court.
It is very common for divorcing couples to feel intense anger and resentment toward each other, and to see only the worst in the other parent with regard to his or her ability to take care of the children. Unfortunately, this anger leads many to begin costly divorce proceedings and ultimately battle these issues out in court, delaying the family’s ability to heal and recover, and causing additional trauma to the children who have done nothing to create the situation. No matter how diligent and well-intentioned a judge may be, he or she will never be able to truly know your children the way you do, and will never be able to see a complete picture of your family’s day to day circumstances. Judges are human too, and sometimes they make the wrong decisions, which the parties will be ordered to follow.
With pre-suit divorce and paternity mediation, the parents work with a neutral mediator who has been trained to help diffuse their anger and hostility, and who will facilitate a meaningful discussion of the children’s issues, allowing the parties to maintain control of such important decisions instead of delegating this responsibility to a judge who is really a stranger to the family.
The safety, financial security and mental well-being of your children should always be the most important consideration in the divorce process. If your family is facing divorce, please contact Healthy Family Mediation Center to learn more about the benefits of pre-suit mediation and how you can be empowered to make decisions affecting the children that are truly in their best interest.