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How mediation can help with co-parenting disputes

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2016 | Mediation

Divorced Virginia parents who move in order to be closer to a new partner while still attempting to remain relatively close to their children may introduce conflict into their coparenting relationship. One problem is that they may underestimate the time the added commute will take. If this travel burden falls on the parent who did not move, there could be tension. Furthermore, the new partner and the parent who did not move may not get along. The other parent may not want the child spending much time with the new partner.

Another conflict may arise if the parent who is moving is the noncustodial one and one of the children decides they would prefer to move with that parent. Whether the child is living with one or the other parent most of the time, the parent who has moved may need to make an effort to help integrate the child into their new community. Meanwhile, the parent who has stayed put may want the bulk of the child’s extracurricular activities to continue to take place closer to them.

When divorced parents reach an impasse like this, there can be a tendency to see the dispute as one in which there will be a winner or a loser. However, parents need to put their children first and may want to consider mediation in order to reach a solution.

A move may be particularly disruptive if parents share physical custody. Issues around transportation, what to do if one parent moves and how new partners will be handled can all be included in the parenting agreement. Parents might even want to make a plan for how they will handle disputes. For example, they might agree that they will see a mediator if they cannot come to a resolution. This is generally a better approach than returning to court to try to litigate every co-parenting dispute that may arise.