Getting a divorce when children are involved is never simple or without challenges and, for some couples, co-parenting after a divorce can be just as difficult. While couples who use divorce mediation are far less likely to experience struggles afterwards than their traditional litigation counterparts, the truth is that not all parents find their new co-parenting role easy.
Parents who choose divorce mediation still go through the same adjustment period as other couples: learning to live on their own, adapting to a harsher financial reality and getting along with their ex-spouse can be challenging.
Just like every family is unique, so are the potential co-parenting problems they will encounter after divorce mediation. These co-parenting struggles can come in many forms including:
- Trying to create consistency from one home to the other when the parties have different parenting styles
- Navigating the practical and emotional consequences of one parent starting a new relationship
- Scheduling hassles like one parent always being late or missing visitation time
- Coping with a family crisis such as an accident, illness, or addiction
Regardless of how hopeless the situation may seem, there is help for individuals who are struggling with their new co-parenting roles after divorce mediation. Involving a third-party or taking advantage of the slew of new technology aimed at making parenting easier can help preserve the relationship-and sanity-of both parents post-divorce.
Ease co-parenting conflict with a parenting coordinator
One way struggling parents can get back on track is by involving a third-party parenting coordinator, or PC. Usually mental health professionals, parenting coordinators focus on dispute resolution and act as a referee between the parents. As a neutral third-party, the parenting coordinator doesn’t advocate for one party or the other; instead, their goal is to provide the child with conflict-free co-parenting.
Through a series of meetings with the parents, the parenting coordinator can assess the needs of the family and make minor changes to the parenting plan or recommend changes to the court. While a parenting coordinator can’t change a court order, they do have the power to:
- Establish the “who, what, and where” during parental time with the child;
- Listen to concerns and help parents make decisions when they can’t come to an agreement on an issue, such as what religious services the child can attend, what activities they can be involved in, and which school is most appropriate;
- Settle transportation disputes to make the child’s transition from one parent to the other easier;
- Report abuse or suspected abuse of the child to the proper authorities;
- Recommend parenting classes, if necessary;
- Help decide other issues related to raising your child.
Having a parenting coordinator’s help with these decisions can reduce conflict and ensure that each parent understands their responsibilities as well as their limits on making decisions without the other parent’s input.
Let technology take the stress out of co-parenting
Whether communication with your child’s other parent is strained, you struggle to remember the co-parenting schedule, or have a hard time keeping track of expenses and important documents, being an effective co-parent can sometimes feel like a never-ending uphill battle. Thankfully, there are a variety of apps available that help you keep your co-parenting schedule on track, as well as share notes and important documents, send and receive messages, track child-related expenses and more. While there are quite a few parenting apps available—each with their own advantages—the most popular include:
- Our Family Wizard
- Cozi Family Organizer
- Google Calendar
- These apps help you manage co-parenting quickly and easily without additional work or expense, saving you time and money.
Additional options for struggling co-parents: mediation and litigation
If neither a parenting coordinator or utilizing the latest technology resolves your co-parenting conflicts, it may be time to consider additional mediation or litigation.
Having another shot at mediation gives you and your ex-spouse the opportunity to come to a new agreement that works better for both of you. If litigation is necessary, however, the court will only change your parenting plan if there is a “substantial change in circumstances” or if the current plan is harmful to your child in some way. “A substantial change in circumstances” covers a wide range of situations, including an out-of-state move, medical issues, or loss of employment.
Experienced custody and divorce mediation lawyers for New York families
At Divorce Mediation Professionals, we understand that all parents want to make the transition to co-parenting after divorce mediation as simple and conflict-free as possible. If you would like to take advantage of our divorce mediation services or need help refining your current co-parenting schedule, contact our office today at (516)222-0101 or online at www.divorcemediationpros.com. We proudly offer free consultations to families who are residents of Nassau, Suffolk, New York City, and Westchester.