During a divorce, many parents find it difficult to communicate with their soon-to-be ex-spouse about the various issues that need to be discussed, such as property division, financial support and child custody. Additionally, many parents fear that the divorce will negatively impact their children into adulthood. When parents allow their pain and anger to manifest in front of their children, it causes the children to suffer from stress and anxiety.

During a family court trial in Minnesota, parents oftenbelieve they need to “win” each issue.  In order to “win” custody, each must show that they are the better parent. This typically means that witnesses are called to testify about the supposedly poor parenting skills of one parent while emphasizing the strong parenting skills of the other, a process which is very hurtful to all involved. The focus on winning in trial sometimes permanently damages the relationship of the parents, making co-parenting of their children difficult if not impossible as resentment lingers.

Minnesota parents who choose divorce mediation often preserve and even improve their co-parenting relationship. During mediation, the mediator, who is a trained, third party neutral, meets with the parents and facilitates the negotiation of customized settlement terms. Unlike a family court judge, the mediator does not make decisions for the parents. The parents, guided by the mediator, discuss each term of an agreement and customize it until both parents are able to agreeto the terms.

Since the focus is on the children and collaboration instead of winning, the parenting relationship can be preserved, making co-parenting into the future much easier. Parents are less likely to walk away from mediation feeling hurt and angry, which is a strong possibility after a trial. Mediationcan also improveparental communication, which can also strengthen their co-parenting relationship as they make decisions for their children.