Whether it's in divorce court or in mediation, preparations will need to be made concerning child custody issues that arise during the divorce process. The process can be extremely trying even under the best of circumstances, but worthwhile results can be achieved through patience, open communication and in some circumstances compromise.
In California the courts require parents to mediate disputes concerning visitation and child custody. Though courts will take into account any parenting plan the mediator recommends, certain courts will give more weight to the mediator's decision than will others. Still, it would be a mistake to not take the process seriously because the court will still likely give the mediator's recommendations great credence.
To make the most out of the mediation session, parents will likely need to:
- Have a deep understanding of what they want to come out of the mediation process
- Possibly meet with a professional counselor in advance in order to know how to present oneself during the mediation process
- Possibly speak to the other parent to find out what the two do and do not agree upon
It's a good idea to know what the rules concerning mediation will be going in. Knowing what documents one is allowed to bring in is important. This can include contact information.
Mediation is meant to reduce rather than increase the amount of stress one is under. No one should feel obligated to agree to any child custody or visitation plan without the opportunity to give it plenty of thought. A mediation session is the perfect time to also raise any additional concerns.
Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Preparing for Child Custody Mediation," Caroline Choi, May 22, 2014