Four Tips for a Successful Child Custody Mediation
As you divide your household during a divorce, you must also determine how to share in your parenting duties and rights. Mediation can help you arrive at a satisfactory child custody arrangement. As with litigation, thorough preparation for your mediation session is essential to achieving your objectives. Here are four tips to help you prepare.
1. Know your goals
Knowing your goals at first seems like an obvious tip, but this crucial task is actually one of the most difficult. Write down your mediation goals concerning:
- Child custody
- Child visitation
- Primary parenting decisions
- Child support
2. Be realistic and define when you are willing to walk away
Understanding New York laws and the atmosphere of the family law court system can help you define the point when you are willing to walk away from mediation. A few dollars in child support or one extra week of visitation might be worth compromising about.
3. Remember, this is about the kids
Your goal of mediation is not to win, but to develop an effective parenting plan. If your children would truly benefit from you having sole custody and your spouse having limited visitation, then fight for that settlement. However, your children may be best served by developing close relationships with both parents.
4. Set the stage for future cooperation
In most cases, children benefit if their parents communicate and cooperate. Mediation gives you the opportunity to establish an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual respect that can provide your kids with long-term stability — and diminish your stress when interacting with the other parent in the future.
Whether you resolve your child custody issues through mediation or litigation, you need a strong advocate who keeps the best interests of you and your children in mind.