There’s no easy way to address the issue of child custody when you’re going through a divorce. As parents, you’re no longer going to live together and your children can’t be in two places at once.
Unless one parent has exclusive physical custody of the children, which is extremely rare in today’s world and not generally considered healthiest for the children, both parents are likely to feel a great deal of loss as they divide up their children’s time.
Make the Most of Your Child Custody Mediation
Here’s how to approach the situation as you head toward mediation.
1. Keep this in mind: If you and your spouse don’t agree on the terms of custody and visitation, a judge will do it for you. Any sense of powerlessness that you have right now is nothing compared to how it can feel if a judge steps in. It’s in the best interest of both parents to come to an agreement.
2. Make a list of your top concerns and your custody proposal. Be fair, and have an explanation available as to how you came to that particular breakout. For example, if your child suffers from a learning disability, you may feel like it is best that he or she spends all school weeks in the same household, rather than rotate back and forth between your household and your ex-spouse’s household.
3. Find out what sort of documentation your mediator will allow you to bring. Will you need school records? Should you have a letter from your child’s therapist or doctor? Do you just need a list of contact people that your mediator can reach in order to get more information about the situation? Discuss this carefully with your attorney in advance so that you aren’t unprepared.
4. Communicate with your spouse before you get to mediation. The more open the lines of communication, the better this could go for you both. Try to keep in mind that your problems with your spouse aren’t your children’s problems and that you both still want what is best for them.
5. See a counselor. You need to learn how to control your emotions before you get to mediation because you are going to be judged on how you present yourself. If you are seething with barely controlled anger toward your spouse, that’s not going to make a good impression.
For more information on child custody issues, talk to an attorney today.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorce Confidential: Preparing for Child Custody Mediation,” Caroline Choi, accessed June 16, 2017