When you got married it was with high hopes for the future, and if your marriage resulted in children that is even truer. Though divorce ends your marriage, it in no way diminishes your relationship or dreams for your children. That’s why it is so important that you understand your child custody rights, as well as what to expect for your upcoming child custody mediation.
Though mediation is not required, it is often considered preferable to a contentious court hearing, especially for the child’s well-being. When parents can come together to find solutions that allow them to move forward with respect for each other’s role as a co-parent, it is generally better for all involved.
The subjects to be addressed during child custody mediation generally include issues of scheduling as well as the manner in which educational and medical decisions are made. The more issues can be anticipated and discussed in a calm and reasoned manner, the more can be accomplished without incurring big legal fees or enduring additional stress or animosity.
The first thing you need to do to prepare is to learn as much as possible about the process itself. This means understanding how long the process will take, who will be involved, whether or not you should (or will be required to) speak directly with your spouse, and what the general view of the courts is about custody in your state. The more you know, the less likely you are to be caught off guard and to get emotional. If the mediator that you are working with hasn’t already answered those questions for you, it’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions so that you won’t forget anything important. Make sure that you list any specific issues that may be unique to your situation.
In addition to writing down your questions, you should also be clear on what your custody wish list is. This should include everything from what you hope for in terms of holidays and vacation time to attending or participating in extra-curricular activities and meals. The goal is not for you to win and your spouse to lose: it is to make sure that the solution is what’s best for all involved, providing everybody with the access and involvement that works best. Understand that you are not going to get everything that you want, but that your spouse isn’t going to either. Try to figure out what is most important to you, as well as what you are willing to compromise about.
If you are approaching a divorce and need help with child custody mediation, contact the offices of Baer Romain & Ginty to set up a consultation, today.