One of the most painful parts of a separation is when a couple must make
an agreement to divide time with their children. When a parent is used
to seeing their child at all times, it can be extremely difficult when
one parent obtains primary custody or both parents must go extended periods
without being able to see their kids. For this reason, many individual
opt to use custody mediation to come to an agreement that both parents
believe is best.
Child Custody Mediation
If a couple cannot come to terms with their child custody agreement, the
court will decide the best way to split the parent's time with the
child based on the child's best interests. However, if the parents
would like to maintain more control over the custody agreement, making
the decision to attend child custody mediation may be the best step.
When parents go through child custody mediation the following will occur:
- They should speak with the child's other parent before mediation
- They must be able to express concerns and needs for the child
- They may choose to meet with a professional counselor
- They must be able to come to an agreement on custody
An important part of child custody mediation is being able to have a rational
and calm discussion with the child's parent and a legal representative
about what each parent would like from the custody case and what would
be best for the child. These two things may not always intersect, and
being open and honest about wants and concerns can begin to create a custody
Outside Help Can Ease Mediation Process
Meeting with a counselor can help a person work through any issues they
may have with the other parent. For example, if one parent has hurt feelings
over a break-up, they may try to punish the other parent by withholding
appropriate custody. Going to a counselor can help to ease some of these
tensions and allows a person to be more level-headed when in court.
Further, talking with a former partner can help present a unified force
to the court and in mediation. Issues that can be addressed by the parents
before mediation, or before a child custody hearing, can ease the entire
process and make mediation more effective.
While child custody mediation does not guarantee that the court will officially
rule in that manner, the court may take the recommendation into consideration
when drafting custody and visitation. However, if one parent is not comfortable
with a parenting plan, then they have every right to express those feelings
before a mediation plan is submitted to the court for consideration.