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Is Child Custody Mediation Right For You?

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 understanding.

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.