LF: Mediation is great at helping parents learn to communicate. During mediation sessions, parents meet with a trained facilitator who helps them navigate the often-turbulent waters of divorce and separation. It also empowers parents by giving them tools to help them work together in the future because, in reality, divorce is just a step in a family's transition. Parents will have to work together for the entire lives of their children—through birthdays, graduations, weddings, etc.
Q: How can parents monitor the stress level of their child during a separation or divorce?
LF: During a divorce or separation, it is so important to be emotionally in-touch with your children. Spend as much time with your children as you can. Check to see if you notice any changes in behavior. There are also many professionals you can speak with, including your child’s pediatrician. There are a lot of organizations ready to help families going through divorce and separation. On the legal side, the NYC Bar Association and inMotion are available to help families.
Lesley Friedland is executive director of FamilyKind, a nonprofit organization in New York City that provides information and support services to families experiencing separation and divorce. Friedland serves on the Family Court Custody and Visitation Advisory Committee and is a member of the New York State Bar Association, New York Women’s Bar Association, New York State Council of Divorce Mediators, and Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. She graduated with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and a JD from Antioch School of Law.