New Jersey law recognizes the significance of having both parents keep a healthy relationship with their child even after divorce. However, accomplishing a custody plan agreeable to both parties and adhering to the child’s best interests is often challenging.
So, unless the family’s circumstances require litigation, some parents choose mediation as a less adversarial way to settle a custody agreement.
What not to do in a child custody mediation
An impartial mediator facilitates the process to help parents arrive at sound decisions. They set the stage for both parties to communicate and elaborate on their concerns in good faith.
While a mediator’s role is critical, the collaborative approach can have greater odds of favorable outcomes if both parties behave accordingly. No matter how tough it gets to work together, they must still try to display respect and civility. They can do this by not:
- Coming unprepared, or without a proposed list of matters (what kind of custody they want to request, what transportation arrangement is workable, what holidays look like) and supporting documents they want to tackle
- Bringing up issues unrelated to future parenting structures or schedules
- Employing intimidating tactics, like intentionally interrupting each other
- Provoking each other through abusive or aggressive language
- Framing the discussion centered on each other’s failures
Both parties must consult their respective lawyers before signing any document. This way, the custody agreement presented before the judge accurately reflects both parties’ rights and responsibilities.
Why child custody mediation is ultimately about the child
While mediation is not for everyone, it may be relevant for parents who seek a productive session that saves them from a costly, time-consuming and emotionally draining path. But more than the parents, the mediation is about fleshing out issues that impact the child’s welfare. Speaking with a legal counsel can be the first step to making this happen. Their expertise lets them see the situation from the child’s perspective while helping the parents reap fair results.