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You don’t have to like one another to get along

“We are not in love, we don’t always agree, we’re not best friends, sometimes we don’t even like one another. But you know what we are? We are forever connected because of our beautiful, smart, kind, and compassionate, funny son.”

A mom wrote these honest words in a Facebook post that has been “liked” over 13,000 times. Just above her words are four family photographs: two taken during the marriage, two taken after the divorce. While the loving caress between mom and dad faded from the latter two, all of the images scream, “family.”

For this mom, the photos are a reminder that their 4-year-old son has two loving parents who will do everything in their power to make his life wonderful. She made her choice from experience, watching her own divorced parents live with a clear line between them. It made her feel like she was living two separate lives.

Mediation sets the stage for successful co-parenting

At this point in the post, you might be thinking to yourself that they are, well, “full of it.” Marriages often end with hurt feelings, anger, disappointment or resentment. This mom feels those too, she simply made the choice to think before she acts on them.

Putting aside your emotions to do what is best for your child is not easy. Working side-by-side with someone who neglected your feelings, fought with you or cheated on you takes practice.

Most people focus on cost-effectiveness or timesavings when selling mediation as a tool for divorce, but one of the greatest benefits is that it sets the stage for cooperative parenting.

With an unbiased, neutral third party facilitating the conversations between you and your spouse, you can learn to:

  • Stay focused on the issue at hand: When you are angry or frustrated with an ex-spouse, a conversation about a single ride home from a soccer game can quickly escalate into a battle over who made the first or the worst mistake in the marriage.
  • Make decisions based on fact and reason: You are not wrong to have emotions, but making decisions based solely on emotion often result in unintended consequences or unnecessary conflict.
  • Communicate effectively: Poor communication often contributes to the breakdown of a marriage or becomes a problem when the marriage breaks down. You have to relearn how to talk to one another as parents not romantic partners.

How you deal with your divorce does affect your future relationship. A knockdown, drag out court battle often only intensifies the conflict that led to the divorce. If you have kids, you should explore mediation and determine if it is the right fit for your family.

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