Settling Child Custody Disputes with a Mediator

Custody provisions as part of a divorce settlement include both child support payments and time-sharing agreements. If the children involved are younger at the time of the divorce, the arrangements will need to be revisited as the children grow up. Using a mediator to settle child custody disputes can be beneficial to helping your children adjust to the new situation because a mediator will help you:

  • Understand grief as an unavoidable repercussion of change;
  • Provide recommendations on communicating with other caregivers about the changes; and
  • Recommend mental health professionals when necessary.

Understanding Grief

Understanding the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) is essential to helping children cope with a change in the custody agreement – especially one of the parents loses significant time with the child as a result. A professional mediation for a custody dispute will include a session about recognizing and dealing with grief as part of the change process.

Encouraging Communications

A mediator will work with parents to identify the institutions and caregivers who should be notified about changes to the custody arrangement. The mediator will also provide information on the signs to look out for if the children are not adjusting well to the change. These steps will provide additional support to the children and also limit confusion when the new custody agreement goes into effect.

Additional Professional Support

If a child or parent has not fully adjusted to the divorce, a subsequent change in the custody arrangement could result in the need for outside assistance. If this is the case, the mediator will provide recommendations for local mental health professionals who work with children of divorce.

Divorce with children comes with a particular set of issues that a professional mediator is trained to discuss with parents. Working with a mediator, rather than relying on the court system, can provide you with additional tools to help your children through this dramatic change.

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