When one divorced California parent moves to be closer to a new partner, this could cause disruption in the existing visitation schedule even if the move is a relatively minor one. An additional half-hour commute could add up to a significant time difference for the parent who is driving the child back and forth. Furthermore, the other parent may disapprove of the new partner and might not want the child spending time with that person. In turn, the new partner may dislike the ex-spouse and the ex-spouse’s influence on the child. The outcome may be one parent refusing to transport the child for visitation.
The parent might still be angry about issues before and during the divorce, and the refusal to budge might feel like a victory. However, the practical result is that the child loses out on time with the other parent.
Mediation might be one way that parents can put aside their anger at one another and focus on the best interests of the child. A mediator may be able to assist parents in working out a number of issues. Primarily, parents may need to work on a new schedule for visitation and transportation, but there might be bigger changes. For example, the child might prefer to change which parent they primarily live with.
Mediation can also be useful during the divorce process. Parents may learn conflict resolution skills through mediation that will serve them in the future as co-parents. If one parent has primary physical custody, both still might share legal custody, and this means that they both have input into issues such as education, health care and religion. These can be emotional and contentious issues. A parenting agreement may be able to anticipate some of them, but as others arise after the divorce, mediation may continue to be helpful.