We are all dealt a hand of cards in life that we must manage to the best of our ability. When you have children and are thinking about getting a divorce, it is really important to think through the impact that the way you choose to divorce will have on your children. A litigated divorce may enable you to seek vengeance on your soon to be ex-spouse. It is even possible that you may “win” on some issues that go before the judge. However, you must ask yourself what the price of these things really is. When children are exposed to conflict, they are often too young to understand it and they are almost always harmed by it. When your aim in a divorce is to hurt the other person, this is the example you set for your children. Seeing this level of anger and resentment is not only unhealthy for a child, it can form the way they see the world. Do you want your child to see the world through a violent lens?
In mediation, you may not feel like you have the opportunity to seek vengeance or win. In this process, you and your spouse will work together to settle your issues in a way you both feel is fair. Mediation gives you an opportunity for open, transparent communication and problem solving. You will work together with the help of your mediator to build a parenting plan that works best for your children. After all, you are the parents and you probably know best. A child who sees his or her parents going through divorce in a peaceful and respectful way will have a much better perception of how to handle conflict. He or she will also continue to spend time with both parents and maybe even share holidays with them.
When you are thinking about your divorce, please know that you have a choice. Your child does not have an option to choose how you handle your divorce and what type of conflict resolution he or she is exposed to. Choose to make the hand your child is dealt a manageable one. It will make an impact on the rest of all of your lives.