Divorce, with all its emotional and financial upheaval, is frequently wrought with stress, fear, and staggering challenge. In the economic times we now find ourselves in the stress, fear and challenges are being felt by everyone, not just families touched by divorce. The constant media coverage and an almost universal sense of crisis require that divorcing couples make an unprecedented effort to provide a sense of financial security to their children.
Children today are faced with images of home foreclosures, job layoffs, and unemployment lines and many of them are experiencing increased anxiety. Every parent wants to give their children a sense of security that the home they live in and the lifestyle they are used to will survive change and upheaval. Divorcing parents are tasked with providing that sense of security while surviving change and upheaval. It is a great challenge when parents are living through a highly emotional process. Divorce mediation offers both a reduction in emotional trauma and guidance to help divorcing couples address their children’s concerns.
By limiting the psychological distractions of a litigated divorce, mediation can allow parents to focus on the effects of divorce on their children and plan for their children’s economic security. In a mediated divorce issues such as life and health insurance, college funds, and housing receive the priority they demand.
In litigated divorces couples are so immersed in the process of meetings, depositions, hearings, and court appearances, that they can lose sight of their children and their needs. Litigated divorces are by definition intrusive and parents are hard pressed to protect their children from this disruption. Time spent on hearings and meetings divert time from attending sports events, family dinners, and travel. Money spent means less investment in college funds, birthday gifts, and vacations. The children lose at nearly every avenue because of the investment in their parents divorce. Mediation addresses this somewhat ironic state of affairs, by saving both time and money. In this regard, mediation is one of the most responsible choices a parent can make.
With the state of our nation’s economy, every citizen is making hard decisions on how they spend their money and how they plan for the future. Choices once felt primarily by divorcing couples are now realities for everyone. Our best experts teach the wisdom of saving and spending wisely. Choosing a process that saves money and accomplishes the same goal is indeed a wise decision. Also, choosing a process that plans for financial contingencies, future saving and spending, and continued health care and insurance is more than just smart-it is essential.
I work with couples every day who express their mutual wish that their children feel safe and secure both during and after the divorce process. Indeed, that is invariably their highest priority. Mediation offers a comprehensive way to achieve this goal. Lowering costs to preserve family resources, allowing parents to keep the lines of communication open and dignified between each party, providing privacy for family issues, planning for equitable settlements, and ensuring custody is decided with the children’s best interests in mind are all elements in a mediated divorce. Planning for a family’s continued financial security is part of every mediated divorce, and with a sound plan in place, parents can continue to build that sense of security that children need and crave.