In this enlightening blog, Scott Levin, an experienced divorce mediator, and father, discusses the significant benefits of mediation over litigation in divorces, especially when children are involved. Delving into how mediation helps protect children from trauma, tailor needs around each unique family, and promotes effective co-parenting, this blog is an essential read for divorced dads navigating co-parenting complexities.
Divorce Mediation: Meeting Our Children’s Expectations
I once encountered a quote by the late Sam Johnson of SC Johnson: “We shouldn’t worry about whether we’ve lived up to the expectations of our fathers, but whether we, as fathers, have met our children’s expectations.” This quote resonated deeply with me, leading to a drastic shift in my perspective on my career as a divorce attorney. How could I explain to my children that I spent my day litigating often-contentious divorces, thereby contributing to the dissolution of another family? Believing that my family would, and should, expect more from me, I ceased litigating in 2012 and became a full-time mediator. While I promote mediation for various reasons, a major factor behind my decision to transition from litigation to the role of Chief Peacekeeper™ is that mediation is unequivocally the best approach to divorce when child custody issues arise, barring cases of domestic abuse.
Shielding Children from Trauma through Mediation
In even the most adversarial divorces, most parents can agree that mediation helps protect their children from unnecessary trauma. Considering that children often witness a considerable amount of anxiety and hostility as a marriage starts to falter, divorce mediation serves as a buffer against further turmoil. It shields the children from the conflicts that unfold in a courtroom and encourages parents to prioritize their children’s needs over their individual agendas. Multiple studies confirm better mental health outcomes for children involved in mediated agreements as opposed to litigation. However, I don’t need statistics to understand this benefit- I witness it daily in the cases I mediate.
Creating a Tailored Family-Centric Approach
Mediation offers flexible outcomes, but its ability to customize child custody arrangements is perhaps its most significant benefit. The agreement can be tailored to meet the family’s specific needs, instead of being determined by a court system that may not fully understand those needs. A mediator can also involve child specialists or therapists as required to provide feedback and assess the situation.
Fostering Effective Co-Parenting Through Mediation
Mediation supports effective co-parenting by fostering open, less contentious communication. The satisfaction derived from a mutually agreed-upon custody arrangement often results in parents being more willing to collaborate in the future for their children’s best interests. The skills developed during mediation typically enable parents to reach compromises in the post-divorce world.
To say my work as a mediator is more fulfilling than my time spent as a litigator would be an understatement. It’s not just about helping my clients through these challenging times; it’s about making my children proud. When I manage to alleviate the anxiety of other children experiencing divorce, I honor my children and my role as a father.
At Split.fyi, we strongly believe that everyone should have access to a peaceful resolution to their divorce. Annual Community Members will receive a 10% discount off services offered by Scott Levin, Chief Peacekeeper™ and founding partner of San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law through our website. You can join here if you aren’t already an Annual Community Member. Remember, mediation is not just about ending a marriage- it’s about paving the way for a healthier future for you and your children.