Child custody mediation is a process in which parents work together to facilitate discussion and develop a parenting plan for their children after their divorce with the help of a third party. While mediation can be done privately, court-connected mediation has gained more popularity over the last few years.
Keep an open mind
It is advisable to approach the mediation with an open mind and the willingness to listen. Keeping an open mind helps both parties to come up with various options, reach an acceptable conclusion, and formulate a satisfactory parenting plan that everyone can agree with. If not anyone else, this greatly benefits the children.
Do your homework and come prepared with several options for the mediation session
Before you come to the mediation session, think and come up with several proposals that are important to you. This will let you stay focused on the things that are important to you and the needs of your child. Avoid taking hits at each other and be open to what you might need to compromise for your child’s benefit.
Avoid Creating a Tense Environment
Things might get tense at a mediation session if you do not maintain a perspective that balances your desires, your ex-spouse’s desires, and the needs of your child. Always remember that you don’t have to like your ex-spouse to come to a settlement on behalf of your children. The love for your child needs to surpass the hate you might have for your ex-spouse. Sometimes one session might not be enough to reach an amicable settlement, so be prepared to attend a few more sessions.
Consider the mediator’s advice
The third party or the mediator will always have the best interest of your child in mind, and even if you or your ex-spouse don’t immediately agree with it, you should both at least consider it. The mediator’s job is to balance the child’s needs and the desires of both the parents to reach a solution acceptable to all. While you may want to stick to your viewpoints, avoid being stubborn or making rude comments. Instead, try to be cheerful and open to different ideas. Know when you will need to compromise to reach a peaceful solution for the sake of your child.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Child Custody Mediation
Do focus on only your child’s needs. Don’t focus on your needs
Do focus on the unique needs of the child according to her age, development, etc. Don’t think there is a plan that fits all children.
Do consider child custody as a separate issue. Don’t discuss property or any other marital problems during the session.
Do acknowledge the strengths of the other parent. Don’t talk ill about the other parent. You can, however, discuss any concerns that you may have about the other parent’s ability to handle the child.
Attend the mediation session with:
A calendar that lists all school holidays, the child’s activities and your work schedule.
A custody proposal and a time-sharing plan
A professional and flexible attitude
An open mind
A grudge-free heart
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