We often discuss mediation in the context of divorce on this blog. And while mediation is certainly a common and effective means of resolving divorce-related matters, it can also help parents resolve disputes long after a divorce is final.
For instance, if you share custody of your children with your ex, mediation can be a helpful option if you find yourself in a dispute regarding your rights or your child’s well-being.
For example, as children get older and parents get more committed to their separate lives, disputes can arise regarding parenting styles and what is in your children’s best interests. If these differences cannot be resolved through discussion or compromise, then parents may want to think about mediation to work toward a solution rather than immediately filing an action with the court.
This is what musicians Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale are reportedly doing. Sources report that the parents, who divorced in 2014 after a 13-year marriage, are attending mediation to resolve issues related to their children’s religious upbringing. Rossdale is reportedly not interested in parenting in a way that prioritizes Stefani’s Christian beliefs.
Disputes over religion, education and other important decisions are not uncommon for co-parents. Regardless of how amicable parents may be, they can still find themselves at odds when it comes to what they believe is in their children’s best interests.
And the potential for disputes doesn’t go away just because parents are used to co-parenting. Kids grow up and their wishes change; parents have meaningful experiences that change their outlook on certain issues; people become more comfortable in their individual capabilities as a parent. All of these things can present situations where parents disagree.
Just as mediation can help divorcing parties resolve issues peacefully and cooperatively, it can also help parents resolve parenting disputes. In fact, some people decide to include in their parenting plan the direction to use mediation as the chosen method of dispute resolution.
Whether you have questions about including such a clause in your parenting agreement or you wish to pursue mediation to resolve a dispute in which you are currently involved, it would be wise to discuss the next steps with an attorney familiar with mediation proceedings in North Carolina.