When two married people with children decide to separate and go their own way, there’s usually a very common conflict between the parties, in relation to child custody. Of course – not always. Sometimes everything goes smoothly and without much hassle, and that’s the best possible option. However, not every couple is lucky enough to have this problem resolved easily, risking the process to turn into a stressful experience full of pain and blaming.
Before any break, it’s fundamental to keep in mind that the family doesn’t break: it still exists – it’s just configured differently. This should be the starting point of every eventual act. And exactly this is the moment when child custody mediation starts playing a key role, assisting parents by adapting them to the new situation.
This process ensures that there are neither winners nor defeated ones when it comes to the separation of people with children, and thus it’s worth considering in case such a situation ever emerges. You can certainly find more details and tips for achieving the services of the mediator on the relevant websites. The one run by O’Sullivan Mediation company, which, apart from treating different kinds of law cases related to family, also gives a better insight into the whole child custody process and could provide you with some quite precious information. However, if you’re primarily interested in the reasons for the huge importance of this service, keep reading.
What’s a child custody mediation and who’s a mediator?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution procedure in which the parties seek to resolve the issues amicably, with the assistance of one or more mediators. They achieve this through negotiation, helping their clients reach a common settlement and an agreement that will do well and be acceptable for both sides.
This is a peaceful way of solving problems, with the parties generally communicating directly. The mediator’s role is to facilitate the dialogue between both parties – the mother and the father. Lending them a helping hand in order to make them stay focused on the importance of the problem, the mediator can’t impose a solution on the clients – he only helps them to sort out the things themselves.
His figure emerges as a concept of a professional who accompanies and assists in conflictive cases, in order to avoid damages to minor children. There we have the key purpose of its existence. Young people, whether they’re toddlers or teenagers, keep getting included in a bunch of tense situations, quarrels and intransigence arising from the rupture of their parents. That’s why the main function of a mediator is to protect the interest of the most vulnerable ones and to avoid discord in the future.
Why should somebody opt for this kind of mediation?
There are a couple of good reasons why.
- Good relationship between parents.
Shared custody allows the family reorganization after the separation. It’s a fruit of the cordial relationship between parents. As we said before, divorce or any other type of separation doesn’t break nor extinguish the family. The family only becomes a new model; hence its importance keeps being of great significance. And mediation might calm the situation and save the nerves of both parties, leading them to a good outcome as the best option for all family members.
- Dedication that emerges
Again, when it comes to shared custody, which is truly desirable, it allows greater co-responsibility in the care of minors. It’s not just an equitable distribution of time spent with sons and daughters – it means sharing a common educational style, worrying about their children’s integral development, both physical and psychological. This is possible only if two people are aware of the weightiness of the case and put their child before any other needs. Certainly, a professional can make them achieve it easier than they would on their own.
- Avoiding the feeling of loss
For sons and daughters, the separation often means continuing to maintain contact with both parents, as was the case during the coexistence of their parents. Things being resolved without bad feelings allows them not to have to develop any feeling of loss, while saving them from developing conflicts.
- Avoid perceiving divorce as something negative
This kind of mediation, in addition to advancing the equality between men and women, enables people (mostly children) to believe that separation is something entirely negative and that it can only produce negative effects. Of course, this doesn’t have to be true with the help of the professional, but the emphatic approach of the mediators.
What qualities should a mediator possess?
These are broadly the qualities that should be demanded of a good mediator:
- They should be able to set the rules. They’re responsible for establishing the control in order to function properly through their mediation.
- They shouldn’t judge. Ever. Conflicts shouldn’t be seen as something negative or positive. All that should simply be about channeling the way in which that conflict can be addressed. Therefore, the mediators shouldn’t play the role of the judge, but rather be a key piece of the puzzle that directly assists with solving the case.
- They should possess a gift of active listening. The role of the mediator focuses on it – listening and being able to understand people affected by a conflict, and without ever issuing value above-mentioned judgments.
- They should respect confidentiality. The mediation process must be based on respect for the confidentiality of people who accept the services of the ones who perform it. Why? Because confidentiality is a basic aspect for building trust.
- They should transform the discord into something good. After the active listening, they must strive to create options that help making a decent closure for the case.
- They don’t resolve the thing. We’ve already been through this one up there. Although it’s something that those affected by a quarrel don’t really understand at times, the mediator shouldn’t be the person who brings all the process to the end. It must be concluded by the people that are affected. In this sense, the mediator’s goal is to listen, clarify, create options – but not to give the solution (or solutions) for any argument.
- They should be able to paraphrase. Yes, it sounds weird. But once the people affected by a divorce have given their version, it’s very important that the mediator’s able to paraphrase what was said by them. This ability allows another person to neutralize everything. The purpose of the professional here is to show the people who use their services that sometimes there are differences between what is said, what is meant and what others have understood. The value of the word is essential in this job, because the resolution of any conflict depends largely on it.
This is just a sample of aspects of which anyone who might ever need child custody mediation should be aware. All this shouldn’t disappear from our consciousness, as it forms part of a complex unit. It would be best if the situations like this didn’t exist at all – the world would be much better place to live. But if it eventually happens, the key is to know where to start from – that’s the only way for things to get to a decent outcome.