Child custody disputes can be one of the most difficult and emotionally charged aspects of family law cases in Long Island, and elsewhere.
Many parents going through a child custody case often find themselves in a highly contentious situation, with both sides trying to secure custody of their children.
It can be an overwhelming and stressful process for everyone involved, especially the children.
Mediation offers a solution to this problem. A mediation session is a voluntary process where both parties work with a neutral third-party mediator to decide on a mutually agreeable child custody agreement.
This process allows parents to avoid the stress and expense of a prolonged court battle while still working towards a solution that is in the best interest of their children.
This blog will provide a comprehensive guide on how child custody mediation works, discuss the benefits of mediation and the steps involved in the process, and what to expect during a mediation session.
By the end of this blog, you will understand how child custody mediation works and how it can help you resolve your child custody dispute peacefully and effectively.
What is Child Custody Mediation?
When parents go through a child custody case, it can be a difficult and emotional time not only for the kids but for everyone involved. One way to avoid the stress and expense of a prolonged court battle is through child custody mediation.
A child custody mediation program process where parents work with a neutral mediator to come to an agreement. This process is voluntary and allows both parties to work together to create a parenting plan that outlines custody, visitation, and other aspects of the child’s care.
Child custody mediation is an effective alternative to the traditional court system for resolving child custody disputes. By working with a mediator, parents can create a parenting plan that prioritizes the child’s well-being and helps in maintaining a healthy co-parenting relationship. The parenting plan covers important issues such as legal custody, physical custody, and visitation schedules.
Mediators act as a facilitator, helping parents communicate and understand each other’s concerns and priorities. The goal is to create and agree upon an ultimate resolve that works for both parties and in the child’s best interest.
One of the major benefits of child custody mediation is that it allows parents to retain control over the outcome of their case. Rather than having a judge make a decision, parents have to work together to create a parenting plan suited to their family’s unique needs. It can help to create a more positive and cooperative co-parenting relationship in the future.
Preparing for Child Custody Mediation
Preparing for child custody mediation can help make the process smoother and more effective.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Prepare yourself mentally and physically.
Child custody mediation can be a challenging and emotional process. Ensure you are well-rested and have had a healthy meal before the session. Take some deep breaths or do some light stretching to help you relax.
Bring an open mind.
Keeping an open mind is the key to the success of mediation. Be willing to listen to the other parent’s perspective and other issues, and consider their concerns. Remember, the goal of mediation is to find a solution that works for both parties and is in the best interest of the child.
Note down your goals and objectives.
Write down your goals and objectives for the mediation session. Think about what you want to achieve and what is most important to you. It can help you stay focused during the session and ensure to address your and your child’s needs.
Have a list of questions ready for the mediator.
Before the mediation session, make a list of questions you have for the mediator. It can help you better understand the process and clarify any concerns in your mind. Remember, the mediator is there to help you, so don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or guidance.
Understand your rights and obligations.
Understand your legal rights and obligations before going into mediation. It can include knowing what factors the court will consider when determining custody, understanding your visitation rights, and knowing your obligations for child support. These factors can help you make informed decisions during the mediation process.
Be organized and prepared with the relevant documents.
Bring any relevant documents to the mediation session, such as your child’s school records, medical records, and financial information. It can help the mediator make a more informed decision and ensure all relevant information is considered. Additionally, having these documents organized and ready can help make the mediation session more efficient and productive.
Remember, child custody mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process that is often court-ordered (court-ordered mediation) in child custody cases. By preparing yourself mentally and physically, bringing an open mind, and being organized and prepared with the relevant documents, you can help make the mediation process smoother and more effective.
Ensuring Successful Child Custody Mediation Sessions
Let’s talk about some tips you and the other parent can keep in mind to help ensure successful mediation sessions.
Be respectful and cooperative.
Respect is key in child custody mediation. Make sure you are civil with the other parent, even if you disagree on certain points. It can help make the session more productive and help you reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
Try to remain focused on the child custody issues during mediation and avoid bringing up any unrelated marital issues. Your child’s best interests should be the main focus of the session.
Focus on parenting time, not child support.
As mentioned previously, child custody mediation is intended to address parenting time (visitation) arrangements, not child support. If child support is an issue, it should be discussed during a separate mediation session.
Hire a child custody attorney.
Consider hiring a child custody lawyer to help you understand your legal rights and obligations, prepare for the mediation session, and provide guidance. A child custody lawyer can also represent your interests in court if necessary. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can be invaluable in child custody cases.
Don’t let your emotions take over.
When going into child custody mediation, it’s important to try and remain calm and level-headed. It can be difficult to keep your emotions in check when discussing child custody issues, but doing so can help ensure a successful mediation session.
The Bottom Line
- Going through a child custody process can be stressful for divorcing couples with children, but should be done for the sake of the child(ren)’s future after the parents divorce.
- If you are unfamiliar with mediation, this guide provides an overview of the process and can help determine a fruitful outcome. With a better understanding of the mediation process, you can decide whether this approach is right for you.
- Contact Win-Win Divorce Solutions today to know one of our mediators and learn how we can help you through the child custody process.