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Can divorce result in good will all year round?

The holidays are a time when people traditionally come together in celebration. Gifts are exchanged, differences are set aside, and the message of "peace and good will to all" is everywhere. People become wrapped up in the excitement of Yuletide, forgetting that -- for some -- it can be a difficult and painful time. Snow may not fall in some parts of California, but the atmosphere between a couple entering divorce mediation may be frosty indeed.

Things can become more complicated when a couple has a child to consider. Parents may find it possible to call a truce over the holidays if they are able to separate their own feelings from whatever will make their child happiest. It may even be possible for parents to continue such a truce if they are reassured that their own bond with their child remains unthreatened. As an example, new partners need not be seen as usurpers if one thinks of them instead as allies.

Focusing on any perceived threat from the presence of the other parent's new partner, one may miss the advantages of having someone else around who also cares about the child. Further, the child may end up feeling that they have to choose sides. They may feel that they are under pressure to favor one parent over the other or to dislike the new partner. Setting aside personal feelings and focusing on working together, to help the child make the transition into a new familial setup, each parent may find that their own transition is easier as a result.

In California, the divorce mediation process may allow both parties to retain more control over the outcome of any agreements. It is conducted by a neutral third party who does not act as an attorney for either party in the divorce. The goal is to reach an acceptable compromise and, perhaps, reach a resolution in less time. It may also reduce the time spent in court, and that may allow both parties to find that they can indeed continue to feel some good will toward each other after the holidays end.

Source: The Huffington Post, Advice From a 'Broken' Family During the Holidays, Michelle Lamar, Dec. 3, 2013

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