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If Your Marriage is Ending

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Avoid a Costly Court Battle

In the Best Interest of the Children or the Parents?

/, Melissa Burns/In the Best Interest of the Children or the Parents?

In the Best Interest of the Children or the Parents?

Two words CHILDREN and PARENTS united by bridge through separation crack. Concept 3D illustration.

{2.24 minutes to read} I was recently working with a couple and about to begin discussing their new parenting plan. Up until that point, both had been living in the same house, but one parent was about to move out.

As is the case in many mediation sessions, the topic of the children brought with it:

  • Strong emotions;
  • Strong words; and
  • Strong feelings.

Of course, the die had already been cast. With the end of their marriage came the inevitable change in the way they would parent their children. This couple, who had been steadily able to reach agreements up to this point, could not agree on how to share parenting time.

Tempers flared and the threat “I will see you in court!” gave pause to the argument. When I asked how going to court would best serve the children, both parents expressed great sadness about not seeing their children every day. They also expressed great concern over the effect this would have on their respective relationships with their kids.

In that moment, it was easier for them to let someone else decide when and for how long they would see their children, rather than living with the guilt of making that choice on their own. We discussed the possibility of a judge ordering a parenting plan that didn’t work for either of them, and this opened the door for compromise.

This couple knew the marriage was over, but was still mourning the loss of their family unit. Once they accepted the inevitability of this change and made the decision to honor each other’s separate relationship with their children, we were able to create a parenting plan that was not only in the best interest of the children, but in the best interest of the parents as well.

Who do you want making family decisions for you? Please feel free to share your comments in the box below.

Melissa Burns

16 Pearl St., Suite 201
Glens Falls, NY 12801
Phone: (518) 529-5200

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2017-01-30T11:33:45+00:00 By |Children & Divorce, Melissa Burns|


  1. Jerry Bagnell, MEd, MSW August 11, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    I have been an advocate and proponent of Activity-based Parenting since 1999. My colleague Lori Wainright and I will be doing a presentation on that child focused concept at the APFM conference in Reston, VA in October. We hope you will be able to attend. If not, I’ll gladly send you the info sheet that explains the concept.

  2. Daniel Burns August 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for the note. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the APFM this year but would be very interested in seeing your materials if you are willing to share them.
    Melissa Burns
    Burns Mediation, LLC

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