What is Divorce and Custody Mediation?
It’s something that every parent has heard over and over, but it bears repeating again: every effort must be made to protect your children from the toxic effects of a family breakup. Separation and divorce are difficult enough on children under the best circumstances. Special delicacy is needed to prevent a divorce from inflicting lifelong damage on a child.
The benefits for children from a mediated divorce
A confrontational divorce in a courtroom tends to bring out parents’ worst emotional reactions, which spill over into the lives of children life.
In contrast, the best results for children often come when the parents can set aside their differences enough to make decisions together with the needs of their children as the focal point. Divorce mediation specifically works toward that goal. By relying on a neutral divorce mediator to guide negotiations, parents can overcome their suspicion and hostility to create a custody agreement that is mutually satisfactory and establishes positive parenting arrangements.
Child custody mediation is not needed exclusively by divorcing couples, of course. Couples who are separating—either for a temporary or indefinite period—as well as unmarried parents who have children together may benefit from parenting plan mediation.
At Divorce Done Right, we provide experienced, professional mediators and family mediation services at reasonable costs for parents looking to resolve child custody issues in a sane, fair, and cooperative manner. Call us toll-free at (866) 337-4448 for information and availability of services from our national family law mediation group.
Checklist for mediated child custody decisions
Whether you and your partner are planning to share custody of your child equally, or if one of you will have primary custody, there is a menu of decisions to be made before the court makes your plans official. Your child custody mediator from Divorce Done Right will work systematically to consider all issues, but you can help by being prepared. Consider the following mediated child custody checklist as a guideline for organizing your thoughts ahead of your mediation session.
- With which parent will the child live on a regular basis?
- What will be the regular parenting schedule?
- What will be the regular plan for picking up and dropping off the child between homes?
- What special arrangements are needed for holidays, religious observances, and birthdays? (Parents’, the child’s, and other family members’ birthdays should all be considered.)
- How will vacation time be divided between parents?
- What will be the visitation schedule for the child’s grandparents? For other members of the extended family?
- How will the child communicate with the noncustodial parent?
- Who will be responsible for making decisions about the child regarding education, health and other major matters?
- What decision-making process is needed for addressing issues such as medical care (routine and emergency care) and discipline?
- What will happen if either parent desires to move away?
MODIFYING THE CUSTODIAL PLAN
- If a dispute arises about custody or visitation schedules, how will it be addressed?
- What can the parents do to help maintain flexibility in custody decisions?
- How often will the parents reexamine these custody plans to make sure they still meet the needs of their child?