Understanding The Mediation Process When Deciding On Custody Arrangements

If you are in the process of getting divorced and you have a child, you will want to do what is best for them regarding custody and visitation while waiting for a court-ordered custody hearing. If you and your spouse have disagreements about who will retain custody or the duration of visitation rights of the other party, you may find going to a mediation session can be a huge help in coming to a concrete agreement. Here is a summary of what happens when you have a mediation session to help prepare you for the process.

Speak To Your Attorney First

Your attorney will most likely recommend you have a mediation session to come to an agreement regarding custody. Some courts will require you have one so there are no unanswered questions about custody arrangements you and your spouse will adhere to up until a custody hearing. Let your attorney know your wishes regarding custody of your child. In some instances, divorcing couples wish to have their lawyers present during mediation. The lawyer will speak on your behalf with the mediator to alert them of the requests you desire before you start proceedings with your spouse. If you wish to keep attorney's fees down and your spouse agrees, you may go to the session without attorneys to see if you can come to an arrangement without outside influence.

State Your Ideal Situation

When you go into mediation, the mediator will ask each party who they feel should retain custody of the child. You may decide to have joint custody at this time and fight for primary custody during the custody hearing. If you are adamant about retaining primary custody from the get-go, be prepared to be faced with retaliation from your spouse if they are not in agreement. You many need to have your attorney present if this is the case. The mediator will help you to come to a workable agreement you can both live with at the time. Anything that is hashed out in mediation is not put into public record until a signed agreement is obtained when the situation is resolved.

Negotiate A Solid Resolution

Going to mediation will help both parties come to a resolution in the matter. You will most likely need to negotiate your stance on custody and visitation and your spouse will need to do the same. The mediator may speak with each of you separately to find out what each party's desires are and then they may have you negotiate together while they ask important questions about the arrangements you each propose. 

Think about what is best for your spouse as well as yourself, while putting your child's needs first. If you know your child would be better with your spouse but you are trying to win temporary custody as revenge, your child will be the one to suffer from the arrangement. Try your best to compromise when in the session. Listening and truly thinking through your spouse's requests may gain their respect to do the same with you so you can both come to an agreement that is in the best interest of the child.

For professional legal help, contact a law firm such as Harold Salant Strassfield & Spielberg.