How should I prepare for child custody mediation?

Mediation can be a great way to settle child custody. For it to work, you need to be prepared. These are some things to consider.

Know the boundaries

There is little point in entering mediation with unrealistic expectations. An attorney can help you understand the laws that govern child custody. Once you know what decisions a court would typically make, you can bring your expectations in line with what you can realistically achieve.

Learn the terms used

Understanding basic legal terms used when discussing child custody can improve communication. For instance, knowing the difference between legal and physical custody might prevent you from arguing with your spouse over a point you agree on.

Have a plan

If you have had preliminary discussions with your spouse, it will reduce the time needed. The mediation meeting is not the place to be hatching plans; it is the place to be ironing out the issues with the proposal you already have.

Accept you will not get everything your way

Mediation is about give and take. To get something, you will have to cede something.

Commit to resolving the issue

Again, this is about having the right mindset. If both parties enter determined to leave with a solution, then mediation is more likely to succeed. If one of you enters with one eye on litigation, that may be where you end up.

Remember your priorities

Child custody agreements are about doing what is best for your child. If you and your spouse hold this to the forefront, it can simplify decisions.

The right attorney is key to the success of child custody mediation. Choose one that understands your goals and appreciates why you are choosing mediation over litigation. They can talk you through the process, help you prepare and increase the chance of a successful resolution. If done well, it can result in a more harmonious and more efficient divorce, benefitting you, your spouse and your children.