When British Columbia parents decide to part ways, emotions often run high. Feelings of resentment, anger and sadness often interfere with fruitful negotiations. If they keep three things in mind, however, it may be possible to put those feelings aside in order to receive the maximum benefits possible from family law mediation.
First, it helps to put the children’s needs first. Would bickering with the other parent make the situation better for them? Would trying to keep the other parent away from the children out of spite or anger help the children in the short or long term? More than likely, the answers to these questions is “No.” In that case, both parents should put their feelings for each other aside in lieu of meeting the children’s needs.
Second, as long as the other parent does not somehow abuse the children, no one really wants to hear how terrible a spouse he or she was. Attempting to undermine the opinion of the other parent only makes the parent making the disparaging remarks look petty and like the one with the issues. Once again, a party’s opinion of the other as a partner makes no difference in the absence of abuse.
Third, refrain from proposing rules just to irritate the other parent and/or make his or her life difficult since those rules work both ways. If the rule would make life difficult for one parent, it will for the other as well. It may not in the short term, but certainly at some point. The goal of family law mediation — whether you live here in British Columbia or elsewhere — is to find the best way forward that serves the best interests of the children and allows them the most time possible with each parent. It is not a place to air grievances about the other person as a spouse.