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How mediation can help resolve coparenting disputes

California parents whose former spouse decides to move in order to be closer to a new partner may face longer commuting times and other challenges. For example, the parent and the new partner might dislike one another, and neither may like the other being in contact with the child. Parents may still carry a lot of anger at one another after the divorce, and the move might become the battleground for that anger. However, the result may be that the child is the one who loses out.

In a situation like this, parents might want to consider going through mediation. In this process that is led by a neutral third party, parents might discuss how the move affects the child's connection to their local community. A child who is living with the parent who did not move may actually have a stronger bond with the other parent and choose to go live there. Parents might also consider how to remain connected with their child if some of the child's extracurricular activities move to the other community.

Parents should keep in mind that children should not be casualties in their conflict with the other parent. The focus should be on raising a secure and well-adjusted child rather than winning arguments with the former spouse.

For major changes to legal agreements, such as changes in custody and support, parents may need to return to court. However, during the divorce, they might use their parenting agreement to create a framework for using mediation or another approach to resolve conflicts. Working with a mediator during the divorce as well may lead to an outcome that satisfies both parties more than the adversarial approach of litigation in which there is a clear winner and a loser.

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