What happens at custody mediation?
Divorcing or separating from someone you share a child with is a difficult and stressful experience, for both you and the child involved.
If you and your co-parent cannot agree on custody, Florida courts will typically require you to attend a mediation to try to work out an arrangement. Since you might not be familiar with the mediation process, it can be helpful to know what to expect.
What does the mediator do?
Mediation is a private, confidential meeting between you, your co-parent and a mediator. Unlike a judge in a courtroom, a mediator does not have the power to make custody decisions.
A mediator’s role is to allow you and your co-parent to speak about what parenting arrangement you believe is best for your child and why, encourage you to listen to one another and guide you toward solutions.
Advantages to mediation
Your situation could be contentious, leaving you thinking that there is no hope that mediation will be successful. But there are several benefits to mediation, which is why you should make a good faith effort at it.
When you go to court to resolve custody disputes, the process is usually long and expensive. Custody litigation can sometimes last several months.
Additionally, at a custody trial, custody is left entirely up to the judge, who is someone who does not know you or your co-parent at all. You might think you have the strongest possible custody case, and end up blindsided when the judge makes a ruling you do not agree with.
In contrast, mediation saves you time and money. You can resolve your situation in the hour or two that you are in mediation.
Mediation puts you in control
You are also likely to be happier with the outcome at mediation. Even if you do not get exactly what you want, you will feel better knowing you had some control over the outcome.
It is important to know how to prepare for and how to act at mediation. A family law attorney can help.