When you are contemplating divorce, the most important considerations have to do with your children. Where will they live? With whom? What about child support? Health insurance? Vacations? Extracurricular activities? College expenses? Babysitting? As any divorced parents will tell you, the list is endless.

There are also decisions to be made concerning less obvious but equally significant matters, such as when to introduce the children (and your ex) to a new relationship, or perhaps taking the children out of the country on an extended vacation.

Discussing, arguing, litigating and resolving parenting issues in court is time-consuming, expensive, and potentially risky. Judges do not know your family dynamic. And what happens when something changes? Do divorced parents need to go back to court, retain lawyers, and spend a lot of money and time to modify an agreement?

The mediation process is a viable alternative to the expensive, adversarial attorney-court route. Here’s why: Family mediators have specific training to help parents come to their own decisions about what is best for their family. Discussing the multitude of issues in front of a neutral, third party with the goal of reaching an agreement is the path toward a successful parenting plan. Your mediation agreement will be custom tailored to your circumstance, with built-in flexibility for modification as time passes.

Parents will move through the divorce process more smoothly when they have made their own choices as to what is best for their children. Less adversity now means less of a negative impact on the family in the future.