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Addressing child custody matters during divorce mediation

Many Florida families choose mediation to work through the details of their divorce. When it comes to child custody matters, some families struggle to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. It is important to make every effort to set aside feelings of hurt, betrayal, anger or spite in favor of working together to reach a child custody outcome that places the needs of shared children at the forefront.

One common roadblock to mediation involves a spouse who seems dead set against compromise. In some cases, this approach is not really indicative of a passionate desire to maintain the bulk of parenting duties. Instead, it is simply a tactic employed to try and make the divorce as uncomfortable as possible so that the other party might just decide to move away from the divorce process and reconcile.

Another common problem facing parents trying to work out a child custody solution involves allowing the children to dictate terms. While the needs of children should always remain a central focus, kids do not have the emotional maturity required to actively participate in hammering out a child custody agreement. Placing them in that situation only adds to the stress and turmoil that they are already likely experiencing.

At the end of the day, the most important thing that parents can do to work toward a mutually agreeable child custody settlement is to approach the matter from a problem-solving perspective. Providing for the needs of the child grows more difficult when parents are unable or unwilling to work together. Happy and healthy children should be the primary goal of all Florida families regardless of whether the parties are married or single.

Source: The Washington Post, "A divorce mediator answers: Can divorced parents just act like parents?", Robert E.Emery, Sept. 8, 2016

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