Steps Involved In Child Custody Mediation
When you get divorced and need to sort out custody for your children, child custody mediation is usually the least stressful way to handle custody agreements. Unless your ex-spouse is an unfit parent for your children, try as much as you can to settle custody through mediation rather than dragging your family, and your children, through the heart wrenching agony of a bitter custody trial.
If you’re unsure of what mediation might look like, day-to-day, read on to find out.
When you decide on mediation, you, your attorney, your ex-spouse, and their attorney decide to come to a custody agreement in the presence of a divorce mediator instead of a judge.
When preparing for mediation proceedings, it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney, write out detailed schedules for your child, draft a custody agreement and visitation proposal, and make sure that you have all the documents you need concerning your child. Your attorney will be able to advice you regarding those documents.
Mediation processes usually follow a set of steps that are fairly standard—you meet with the mediator, figure out the issues that require mediation, discuss a custody agreement draft with your ex-spouse while making required changes throughout the process, and then sign the agreement.
When in mediation, you should discuss the following issues:
- Figure out regular custody and visitation—are you going to share custody or not? Will the child remain with one parent most of the time? What does visitation look like?
- Once you arrive at a custody situation, start defining the parameters and the boundaries of the time you have with your kids. Where will your kids spend specific holidays or school vacations? Can one parent take the child on long vacations? Under what circumstances can changes be made to the current visitation schedule? Also, this is the time to figure out how you can go about changing the custody agreement on a permanent basis if required.
- The other important issue you need to discuss concerns the raising of your children. Discuss things like schools, activities, religious training, medical care, dental and vision care, sports, etc. Figure out who wants to be involved where, and make it happen. Also figure out how you’ll split costs for things like college or private school, or even emergency medical care if required.
- If you run into problems or disagree with each other, listen to the mediator and try and arrive at an amicable solution. Compromise, because the other party will compromise as well, and ultimately, this will benefit your children.
Once the agreement is drafted and signed, you can and should expect your ex-spouse to honor it.
Getting divorced in California can be complicated. Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.
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