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How to prepare for child custody mediation

Divorcing Florida parents who cannot come to an agreement regarding child custody may need to enter mediation in order to resolve the issue. One thing parents may not realize is the degree to which they need to emotionally prepare for that mediation. People who are prepared in this way may be better able to advocate for themselves and their children.

If it is financially feasible, parents should consider seeing a family law attorney first. Some specialize in preparing clients for mediation. This includes the best strategies for presentation and for making points about custody. Parents who anticipate specific difficulties with or attacks from ex-spouses can get guidance on how to respond.

However, if seeing an attorney is not possible, a parent can still do similar preparation. Writing down the main points the parent wishes to cover in the mediation is important. It is also important to understand what will be allowed in the mediation. Some jurisdictions do not permit certain kinds of documentation or photographs, so checking with the court in advance will leave a parent better prepared. Parents with special needs children might benefit from a list of collateral contacts given to the mediator such as doctors and teachers who can speak with the mediator separately afterward.

Some parents may find it productive to speak with one another prior to mediation and agree on a few points beforehand. Of course, the value of this depends on the relationship between the ex-spouses. Parents should keep in mind that the best interests of the children must be the primary concern throughout mediation. While the process should not be extended indefinitely, a parent should also feel free to take time to think over any agreement before signing it.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorce Confidential: Preparing for Child Custody Mediation“, Caroline Choi, May 22, 2014