When parents divorce or move, custody disputes are normally the most difficult to settle. Since all parents adore their children and wish to be involved in their daily lives, reaching a visitation and custody arrangement is often difficult. Acting with a professional family law mediator may be beneficial for many parents.
What Is Mediation?
Many divorcing spouses use therapy to help settle divorce-related problems such as support, property separation, and child custody. In divorce mediation, couples employ a neutral third person (the mediator) to assist them in discussing and resolving their disputes. Most divorce mediators are seasoned family law lawyers who have completed advanced mediation training. A mediator, unlike a judge or arbitrator, does not make rulings but rather aids partners in making their own arrangements. For more detail, see the Divorce Mediation FAQ.
Preparing for Child Custody Mediation
Before you begin child custody mediation, there are some critical steps you can take:
• Seek legal counsel: It’s best to go through negotiations knowing just what your rights and obligations are.
• Create comprehensive everyday routines for both you and your boy.
• Establish your own custody and visitation schedule.
• Collect all pertinent documents relating to your child, including vital medical records, index cards, and any correspondence from your child’s psychiatrist.
When drafting your custody plan, bear in mind some special conditions, such as holidays and birthdays. Remember to arrange for interchange sites and transit information, such as which parent may drop off or pick up the child for planned visits.
Steps in the Resolution Process
While child custody mediation is typically optional, in some jurisdictions, parents are required to perform a formal mediation period before a judge can issue any court orders. In any case, the steps taken in the resolution process are the same:
• consult with the mediator
• define and categorise the disputed topics
• explore ideas with a give-and-take mindset, and
• negotiate, draught, and ink a custody agreement
The length of time you’ll spend in negotiations is determined by many factors, including the number and severity of the custody disputes, as well as the parents’ ability to negotiate an understanding.
Get to mediation willing to listen and offer several adjustments. Visitation counseling is also not the venue to rehash old arguments over what went wrong with the marriage: The emphasis must be on coming to a safe position for your kids, and the legal arrangement should be personalised to suit every interests of the child (not your own). Not whether both step out from counseling with a settlement would’ve been defined in large part by your desire to work with the partner and, if necessary, compromise.
The mediator would consult with all parents (and, in some cases, their attorneys) and explain the grounds rules, including confidentiality rules. For a few cases, anything said during therapy is meant to be private and cannot be used later, for example, as testimony in court. Remember that the mediator does not serve any of you and cannot provide legal counsel. The mediator’s primary aim is to assist you in reaching a custody arrangement that you can all comply with.
Identify and categories the problems
The mediator will assist you in determining the child custody problems that must be settled in your case. These problems are usually prioritised, such as those that must be addressed quickly (kindergarten applications are due) and those that are more nuanced and may have far-reaching effects for the family (one parent is planning to introduce a new romantic partner). Often it’s best to approach the simple problems first, so that a few early wins early in the process will lead to better communication with the harder issues later.
It’s important to separate custody issues into five layers:
• the daily custody and visiting schedule
• a list of exceptions that supersede the regular calendar, such as holidays and vacations
• how the parents can talk about their children with one another
• special issues, such as religious instruction, preventive services, extracurricular sports, and private school and
• the procedure for modifying the custody arrangement in the future.
The amount of time you spend on each layer can vary depending on your family’s condition. To make the mediation process work, you must each freely negotiate what you feel is equitable and be able to listen to the other side. Often do what is best for your kids.
Prepare and sign the Detention Agreement
Once you’ve settled all of your custody problems, the mediator will support you with drafting the child custody arrangement. Examine this document—a legally binding contract—carefully to ensure it properly represents your interpretation of the custody situation. Before submitting the agreement to the court for consideration, you can have your solicitor review it.
Trying to settle a child custody battle can be daunting and sometimes traumatic. You must understand plans, times, weekends, holidays, and, in certain cases, a child’s choice. However, if you can still accept that the child comes first, you can resolve your differences fairly and without the hassle and cost of a child custody dispute, and potentially a lawsuit, with the assistance of a mediator.