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Parental Disputes: Strategies for Resolving Conflicts

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When a marriage or relationship breaks down, and children are involved, working out how to continue parenting is often one of the most emotional and contentious issues to resolve. Let's discuss the best strategies for resolving child-parenting disputes without resorting to legal battles.

Putting the Best Interests of the Child First

Regardless of what caused the dispute, parents need to put their child's best interests first. The court also prioritizes the child's well-being before making any decisions. Keeping in mind the child's needs and well-being, including their age, personality, and relationships with each parent, can help guide the decision-making process.

The Importance of Communication

Effective communication between parents is the key to resolving parenting disputes outside of the courtroom. Agreeing to listen and empathize with each other's concerns, taking each other's perspectives into account and avoiding making impulsive decisions are crucial steps in this process.

Developing a Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is a written document that outlines how parents intend to raise their children after separation. Its purpose is to minimize conflict, ensure both parents are involved in decision-making, and clearly set out when the children will spend time with each parent.

A parenting plan should cover the following:

  • A schedule for the children's time with each parent;
  • Decision-making responsibilities;
  • Communication methods; and
  • Procedures for review and modification of the plan.

The parenting plan should be practical and take into account the children's needs, age, and development. It should be flexible and open to amendment as those needs change.

Working on this plan together can lead to more effective co-parenting and, ideally, a reduction of conflicts.

Working with a Mediator

A mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates communication between the parents. Mediators have specialized training in conflict resolution and communication skills, and their goal is to help both sides achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. During mediation, a mediator will help parents identify common ground and find workable solutions.

Mediation is an excellent option for parents who wish to avoid a court hearing. Mediation is less expensive than going to court, less formal, and less confrontational. However, both parents must be willing to participate and work together to develop a parenting plan that achieves both of their goals.

Keeping Children Out of the Conflict

When parents argue about children, it's easy to forget that children are also affected by the changes in the family. A child caught up in a parental conflict can feel emotionally vulnerable and may become “stuck” by divided loyalties to each parent.

To reduce the potential long-term harm to the children, parents can adopt the following practices:

  • Refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the children;
  • Avoid involving the children in adult disputes;
  • Focus on the children's needs first, and put your own feelings aside;
  • Respect your child's relationship with their other parent.

By implementing these measures, parents can work together to create a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment for their children.

Divorce Attorneys in Jacksonville, FL

At Owenby Law, P.A., our attorneys understand the emotional challenges that accompany a parenting dispute. We are focused on helping parents find solutions that benefit their children, and we work hard to resolve these disagreements as amicably as possible.

Contact us today at (904) 770-3141 to learn more about how we can help you with your family law needs.