If you’ve decided to use child custody mediation in Minnesota to resolve some of the issues of your parenting dispute, then you’ve made a very good choice. Often, people who use mediation instead of the court system, wind up far happier with the outcome that they receive.
This is because mediation allows you to be an active participant in the process of deciding what is best for your child. However, that does not mean that there aren’t a few things you should know about the process.
1. Be Prepared
You already know that you should come to court prepared, but did you know that you should come prepared for your mediation, too? While the mediator doesn’t have the power to impose a decision upon you it does help to have all of the information at your fingertips.
Here are a few of the things you should consider bringing.
- A list of the issues that are most important to you, so that you can make sure those issues are addressed.
- Suggestions and plans for meeting each of these issues, such as suggested parenting time schedules.
- Records such as the child’s report cards and school attendance and progress, and other indicators of the care that you’ve been giving the child.
- A list of reasons why you should be the primary custodian, or why joint custody is best.
2. Be Willing to Listen
Mediation works best when you approach the process with an open mind. If you are willing to listen to possible solutions you’ll find yourself in a better position.
Remember, the goal of any child custody dispute is to create the situation that will truly be healthy for your child. If you let it be about you then you’ll have a much harder time viewing the situation objectively.
Be willing to brainstorm and to compromise. Leave your issues with your spouse at the door. You’ve both done things that have brought you to this day, so there’s no sense in rehashing those things.
3. Think Win-Win
Don’t go into mediation thinking about how you’re going to win at the other parent’s expense. Instead, think about creating a situation that allows your child to win while creating a scenario you can both live with. If you can’t get to a win-win solution you’re likely to end up in court.
4. Mediation is a Confidential Process
What is said and offered in mediation remains confidential unless the parties reach agreement and a signed agreement results. The court will be told that mediation was conducted, but unless agreement was reached, all discussions, offers and negotiations remain confidential and inadmissible in court.
BGS offers family mediation to help you with your child custody concerns in Minnesota. Please call for more information.