Protecting your children is going to be one of your main concerns if you are getting divorced. Yes, there are numerous issues to address in any divorce, but your kids and their well-being will be among the most important.
Issues related to your kids can also be among the most contentious in a divorce. Parents can struggle enormously to discuss reasonable parenting plans when they don't get along or trust each other. Thankfully, there are many different methods to help parents reach an agreement that works for them and, more importantly, their children.
Mediation can be a very effective option for parents who are in the position to sit down with each other and make decisions together. With the help of a mediator, who is a neutral third party that helps keep discussions focused on resolving the issue at hand, parents work together to come up with a parenting plan.
Collaboration is a similar approach that allows parents to again work together to develop a parenting plan. However, the collaborative approach is a little more formal and requires each party to have an attorney, and everyone must sign a document agreeing to reach a decision through collaboration or the matter moves to the courts.
If you are unable to resolve issues pertaining to custody through these methods, or if you are in a situation involving violence, serious contention or complicated parenting concerns, it may be best to have the courts make these decisions. Litigation can be more expensive, adversarial and stressful, but it is very effective.
Before you make a decision for or against any of these approaches, it is crucial that you assess your options with your attorney. Having legal guidance and perspective can help you set your priorities and take the steps necessary to pursue the best option for your specific situation.