The decisions involved in custody and creating a parenting plan are often the most contentious ones in a California divorce. Both parents tend to feel that their plan for the future of the child is the best. However, it may be that in some cases the conflict over custody and plans causes more damage to the child than could be mediated by the best plan. There are some strategies to help parents avoid causing unnecessary stress and emotional turmoil to their children during divorce.
Most efforts to improve the child's well-being during a divorce revolves around reducing the risk of open fighting in front of or passive triangulation using the children. An early step is for parents to either make or request a judge to make temporary orders for custody and support. Detailed temporary orders that include visitation rights, schedules and physical custody will reduce the risk of conflict.
Another important maneuver for parents is taking ownership of the child custody proceedings and divorce as a whole. Judicial decisions are rarely going to offer either party total satisfaction, and the outcome is out of the hands of those who have the most to lose or gain. By contrast, mediation offers the divorcing couple a chance to negotiate as much as possible and save litigation only for the intractable arguments.
Divorcing couples do not have to leave the entire process of child custody, visitation and support orders to the courts. Many courts now require parents to attempt mediation to resolve these issues amicably prior to litigation. This can result in less conflict and tension, reduced expense and faster decisions. Even in divorce mediation, an attorney experienced in family law can provide assistance in understanding what the law requires of an agreement and counsel in case litigation over some unresolved issues becomes necessary.