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Mediation and the Special-Child Family

NCJ Number
Mediation Quarterly Issue: 18 Dated: (Winter 1987) Pages: 79-83
J Davidson
Date Published
5 pages
This article examines issues mediators should consider in dealing with a circumstance where one parent in a divorce involving a handicapped child wishes to have little or no contact with the child after the divorce.
Although the courts are typically aggressive in requiring noncustodial divorced parents to provide financial support for their children, they are less concerned about a parent's maintaining personal contact with the children. In the case of a handicapped child, it is not unusual for the noncustodial parent, usually the father, to want little or no contact with the child after the divorce. In some cases, the child has been the focal point of problems in the marriage. In deciding whether or not to intervene to modify this posture, the mediator should consider whether the rejecting parent is a threat to the child, whether the rejecting parent's self-image can be revalued in counseling to bring an awareness of the potential importance of the parent in the child's life, and whether the custodial parent desires and can foster coparenting. Both parents and the child would obviously benefit from coparenting, but the mediator must be sensitive to obstructions to this arrangement that must be addressed.