Child custody mediation is, usually, a court-ordered face-to-face negotiation with the other parent. Sometimes the court will include a neutral third-party observer who will report back to the judge his or her assessment of the parents. As discussed in a previous post, it is critical that you take the mediation seriously, prepare for it, and do your best to present a strong front. This post will go over the remaining issues you should consider.
As discussed previously, you need to go to the mediation thoroughly prepared to argue your position rationally and calmly. You should also bring sample orders outlining your position, to make the mediator’s job easier.
Third, bring evidence to the mediation. The evidence should support your reasons for additional parenting time or support reasons why the other parent must have their time reduced (i.e. because of abuse). You can bring any evidence you want, but it is best to bring reliable and strong evidence.
Fourth, you can consult with a lawyer, to avoid tipping your hand too much should the mediation fail and you are required to submit arguments to the court.
Finally, relax. Your lawyer may not be in the room to remind you to stay calm and focus on the bigger picture. You cannot let the mediation become confrontational; you always need to prevent a calm and mature persona to the court.
Are you engaged in a dispute over parenting time? If you are, you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Child custody orders are complicated to undertake on your own because it is hard, if not impossible, to think rationally about the situation. Parents are prone to act impulsively to protect and care for their children, which is why having an attorney to keep you on track is critical to securing additional parenting time or custody rights.