How to make mediation work for you in child custody matters
There is no question that mediating matters related to a divorce or split can be beneficial to those involved. Perhaps this is most applicable to situations where children are involved. There are multiple reasons for this including the fact that it facilitates communication—which is so important in maintaining a civil relationship—between parents.
If you are entering mediation to address child custody it is a good idea to spend some time preparing. The most important thing to remember going into the process is to focus on the needs of your children.
This could entail many things including acknowledging any special needs the children may have. Parents should also recognize the importance of both parents to children. Accordingly, in the course of developing a parenting plan, time with both should be allotted for in a safe environment.
There are other things that parents should do before mediation as well. Resolving to avoid character assassinations is an important component to the process. Focusing on the issues rather than problems with the other parent is a way to do this.
Being able to listen to both the mediator as well as the other parent is also key. Keeping an open mind and being willing to compromise can make it easier to reach a parenting plan that works for everyone.
It is also a good idea to think about your concerns and come up with several options before the mediation session. Writing them down so you can refer to them is also helpful. At the end of the process you want to feel like all of your concerns have been addressed.
Of course mediating child custody matters is usually only part of a much larger picture. For that reason, anyone facing family law matters should consult with a lawyer.