What is custody mediation?
Child custody mediation is when you and the other parent meet with a neutral 3rd party (called a mediator) to make your parenting plan. The purpose of custody mediation is to help you work with the other parent to make a custody agreement you both support. In mediation, the mediator will guide you as you make a parenting plan with information about making decisions for your child, the time your child will be with each parent, how you and the other parent will care for and provide for your child, etc.
How do I prepare for mediation?
To prepare for mediation, you should:
- Write down important issues you want to discuss
- Make some sample parenting plans to present
- Create some parenting time schedule ideas to show
- Write down your work schedule, your child’s school holiday schedule, the times of your child’s extra events, and other important dates
- Write down concerns that you want your custody agreement to address
How long does it take to make an agreement in mediation?
For most people, the 3 hour session I offer is enough to make the agreement, all at once. Depending on the number of custody issues to work out, the commitment of the parents in working out an agreement, and the amount of conflict in the custody situation, more sessions might be needed. Usually this means a few sessions within a few weeks.
Does mediation work in high conflict divorce cases?
Yes, it can. Mediation is actually designed to help parents work through conflict to create a plan for child custody. Mediators are trained to help parents resolve conflict and focus on the child.
Mediation is successful when both parents are able to put the needs of the child first and cooperate on a plan. Even if parents have strong disagreements with each other, a mediator can help both parents focus on what is best for the child. This lets them work out a custody plan that everyone supports.
High conflict cases can really benefit from mediation because high conflict cases have a higher chance of repeatedly going to court. Mediation can stop the court cycle because both parents have an equal say in what goes in the agreement in mediation. This can prevent future disagreements and arguments.
What can I do to make mediation successful?
Here are some ideas to make mediation successful:
- Go to mediation prepared with example parenting plans and parenting time schedules
- Write down the concerns and issues that you want to discuss at mediation.
- Be flexible about your parenting arrangements
- Listen to the other parent’s ideas and concerns
- Do you best to set aside any personal conflicts with the other parent
- Focus on your child as you work out your custody plan
- Don’t bring up divorce issues or other outside issues during mediation
- Bring information about your work schedule and your child’s school schedule
- Talk to your child about what they want in the parenting agreement (if your child is old enough and mature enough)
- Listen to the mediator
- Get enough sleep the night before
Send Sirpa a message today about your situation and she’ll personally get back to you shortly.