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What Legal Protections Are Available for Children in High-Conflict Divorce Situations in Ohio?

What is High-Conflict Divorce?

A high-conflict divorce is typically characterized by ongoing disputes, frequent court appearances, and intense emotions. These types of divorce situations prove to be especially damaging for children caught between the battling parents. According to Psychology Today, children in these situations suffer from poor adjustment skills, decreased performance in school, failure in future relationships, and diminished self-esteem. Below, we will discuss several strategies to help ensure the best outcome for children of divorcing parents.

How Can Parents Protect Their Children During Divorce?

While divorce is, unfortunately, a fairly common occurrence, it does not have to be difficult for the children involved. The following strategies may help parents to mitigate the impact of a high-conflict divorce:

  • Shield children from conflict: Divorcing parents should make earnest attempts to shield their children from parental disputes. Conversations regarding legal matters, financial issues, or other parental disagreements are not the children’s responsibility. This approach may help to preserve the well-being and stability of involved children.
  • Co-parenting and communication: Parents should attempt to maintain a unified front when making parenting decisions and scheduling. Tools such as co-parenting apps may help facilitate communication and scheduling, further reducing the risk of conflict.
  • Professional support: Support from psychologists or family therapists can prove an invaluable option for children who are navigating the emotional struggles of a high-conflict divorce. Therapy presents the opportunity for children to express their feelings and learn coping mechanisms.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a way for a divorcing couple to find solutions through a neutral, court-appointed third-party called a mediator. This process allows the couple to settle issues such as custody and child support. The State of Ohio allows divorcing couples to begin mediation at any stage of the divorce process, including before filing and after finalization.

Requirements for Mediation

Both parties must agree to mediation before it can begin. It is also recommended that they obtain legal advice before entering mediation. While an attorney is not required to attend the mediation process, an attorney may be consulted between appointments.

Benefits of Mediation

  • Extra privacy: Divorce mediation offers a confidential and private setting in which a couple can discuss and negotiate the terms of the divorce with the help of a mediator. The couple is able to make all of the decisions regarding the dissolution of the marriage. Conversations held during mediation are not part of court proceedings and, therefore, are not subject to public scrutiny.
  • Facilitates effective co-parenting: Mediation offers an open and unbiased environment for both parties to discuss issues related to each other and parenting. This can help the couple reach mutual agreements concerning the family’s future and facilitate effective co-parenting. Mediation may also create a more respectful relationship between both parties, which helps form a smoother transition to co-parenting after the divorce.
  • Saves time and money: Mediation may assist in avoiding long and expensive litigation.

What is a Parenting Coordinator?

A parenting coordinator is a trained professional who assists parents in resolving disputes, such as child custody, visitation schedules, and other co-parenting issues. They often have a background in psychology, social work, or law. They help facilitate communication, assist parents in adhering to court orders, and make recommendations to resolve ongoing conflicts. All aspects of a parenting coordinator’s job are performed with the child’s best interest in mind.

Duties of a Parenting Coordinator

A parenting coordinator can help during a high-conflict divorce in the following ways:

  • Facilitate effective communication: A parenting coordinator is a neutral intermediary who facilitates constructive dialogue between parents, enabling them to address contentions and reach agreements while focusing on the best interests of the child.
  • Implement co-parenting strategies: A parenting coordinator can help create and implement a personalized co-parenting strategy that is tailored to the individual needs of each family, which creates stability and consistency for the children involved.
  • Navigating legal complexities: A parenting coordinator with a legal background is able to bring invaluable insight, interpret court orders, navigate custody agreements, and ensure compliance with standing legal obligations.

Benefits of a Parenting Coordinator

Enlisting the help of a parenting coordinator can offer the following benefits:

  • Reduced conflict and improved communication: A parenting coordinator can help de-escalate conflict, facilitate productive conversations, and establish clear and consistent channels of communication between parents by providing a neutral space for communication to occur.
  • Streamlined dispute resolution: Through their expertise in mediation and conflict resolution, the employment of a parenting coordinator can lead to faster and cheaper solutions for disagreements regarding child-related issues when compared to returning to court for each disagreement.
  • Child-first approach: A parenting coordinator ensures the child’s needs and well-being are prioritized throughout the process by focusing solely on the best interest of the child. They will educate parents about child development and the harmful impact of conflict on children to empower the parents to make decisions that focus on the child’s emotional well-being.
  • Sustainable solutions: A parenting coordinator will teach parents communication and conflict resolution skills that will empower them to manage future disagreements effectively. This serves to foster a more collaborative and sustainable co-parenting environment in the long term.

Do I Need an Attorney?

An experienced attorney will be able to offer invaluable insight and options best suited for your situation. If you are involved in a high-conflict divorce and are concerned about the well-being of your child, call Lawrence Law Firm today at 614-228-3664 or fill out a contact form for a consultation.

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