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As a divorce mediator on Long Island, I see every day how divorce mediation works to help parents work out child custody and visitation plans that puts the needs of their children first.

For most Long Island divorces, divorce mediation typically provides a setting in which parents can openly discuss their perspectives on what they believe is in the best interests of their child or children. In divorce mediation, parents work together to develop a plan for parenting their children after divorce with the help of a neutral third party mediator. This method of determining parenting time, visitation, and custody provides a child-centered approach, but does not always directly include the desires of the children involved from their perspective in their own words.

Letting Children Have a Voice in Divorce Mediation

An emerging trend in divorce mediation is the inclusion of children in the mediation process. This type of mediation is known as “child-inclusive mediation.” In child-inclusive mediation, the child may make his or her wishes and preferences on schedules and activities known. A neutral third party mediator that has experience with child-focused mediation will meet with the child and gather this information.

Including the child’s perspective in the mediation process often gives parents the opportunity to see the child as an individual whose opinion is valuable. When children are included in the decision-making process, they may feel safer to express their opinions without sensing they have betrayed one parent or the other, and often feel validated by having both parents acknowledge their thoughts and feelings. If parents are able to take a small step back from their personal concerns and preferences about the divorce, they can usually find that the child’s wishes are deserving of their attention and meaningful consideration in the decision making process.

Creating a Safe Environment for Children to Express Themselves
A trusted divorce mediator and family law attorney that has experience working with children can help your child to feel safe to express his or her opinions without fear of repercussions later on. A child should feel free to express his or her feelings as a fundamental principle of healthy family dynamics. Even if there is conflict in the family due to a divorce, the children’s preferences should never be subject to the antagonism of divorce. Although the parents are splitting up, both parents should remain supportive of the child and be sure that the child feels protected and secure as much as possible throughout the process. The child’s opinion is not always consistent with each parent’s view, but is nevertheless important. A skilled divorce mediator can help present the child’s views in a manner that promotes harmony and an effective resolution.

Healthy Empowerment Minimizes Negative Effects of Divorce on Children

The importance of putting children first in divorce cannot be underestimated. Child inclusive mediation can serve as a powerful reminder that when there is high conflict between parents in a divorce, the children are most often the ones who suffer most. By making the commitment to develop a parenting plan during mediation, many divorcing parents avoid the difficult battles that can be so damaging to the family during divorce. Furthermore, allowing children to be heard in the decision-making process that occurs during mediation has the potential to empower them in a healthy way.

Child Inclusive Divorce Mediation Not Always Appropriate

Child inclusive mediation is not always appropriate. Depending upon the age of the child and the level of conflict in the family, an experienced Long Island divorce attorney or divorce mediator can assist you in deciding whether this type of mediation is right for your family.

Long Island Divorce Mediator Asks: Is Child Inclusive Divorce Mediation Right for Your Family?

To learn more about Divorce Mediators on Long Island and how they can save you time, money and stress, visit this page: Divorce Mediator Long Island | Nassau County & Suffolk County. Including your child in your Long Island divorce mediation process may be a beneficial option for your family, however, the best type of mediation will depend on the specific circumstances of your separation or divorce. Contact a skilled New York divorce attorney and divorce mediator at the Law Office of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. at 631-923-1910 today to learn whether divorce mediation is the best option for you. We offer free initial consultations at our convenient Melville location for those in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and New York City.


D-LI eBookCoverCTAsmDownload our Free New York Divorce Guide

Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced family law lawyer Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.