With summer quickly approaching, a common topic in Divorce Mediation is children’s activities and summer camps.
When helping a divorcing couple through the mediation process, we help clients avoid future conflicts by having a durable agreement that clearly defines what works for them.
I thought it would be helpful to talk about some common activities that sometimes create conflict during the mediation process and things discussed in mediation.
Any parent with children who are active in sports will tell you it is a big commitment! Between practices, equipment, games, travel, and transportation, it can be overwhelming for married couples, let alone divorced parents. What will help address that overwhelming feeling is a clear agreement that addresses common questions such as:
● How do we decide on what sports our kids should participate in?
● What if we disagree on the sport?
● Who pays for what?
● How do we coordinate getting our children to all of the events?
● Can we still attend our children’s events together?
Through a facilitated conversation, clients often work out an agreement that best suits their needs, works with their schedules, and clearly defines the agreement’s parameters.
Summer Camps can provide children with invaluable experiences and have the potential to create lifelong friendships. However, there are a lot of concerns when it comes to Summer Camps. Typical areas of conflict and questions when it comes to Summer Camps include:
● A parent is afraid that their child will be gone for an extended period.
● What happens if my kid gets hurt when they are attending camp?
● What if the parents disagree on the age that is appropriate for their child attending Summer camp?
● How will we pay for this?
● How will we transport our child to the camp?
● How will the time away from the parents affect my parenting time?
Clients can address their concerns with the help of a mediator to help construct a durable agreement that addresses these common concerns.
Music, Drama, and Dance
Many children are involved in music, drama, and dance. Studies have shown that involvement in music and dance benefits children in many ways. However, it is often a significant time commitment, instruments can be expensive, and clients often disagree on the level of participation they are comfortable with. Things often heard by divorcing couples include:
● How are we going to get our child to all these practices?
● How are we going to pay for our child’s musical instrument?
● What happens when one parent feels strongly about their child participating in music or dance and the other parent does not value it at all?
● What if I am not comfortable with my child’s image being used on social media to promote their hobby?
● How will I know that my ex-spouse will make sure they practice at home?
A conversation during the mediation process may address why the sport or activity is important to the parent or the child. Sometimes, as kids get older, it may be helpful to have them attend a mediation session to explain to the parents why the sport or activity is important to them. One of the benefits of mediation is that all parties involved have a seat at the table and control the process. Having a facilitated conversation that addresses all the needs and interests can only help craft a durable and fair solution that works in the best interest of their family. And as we always say here at Keystone Mediation, divorce may end a legal marriage, but it does not end a family.