Divorcing couples who have children are faced with a unique set of challenges. Not only is divorce an emotionally stressful and exhausting process, but it also has an impact on the children involved. However, divorcing parents may find that child custody mediation can make the divorce process as a whole go smoother for everyone involved, including the children. Here are some tips.
Work Together on a Parenting Plan
First and foremost, when creating a parenting plan, you and your ex-spouse should work together to come to agreements in the child's best interest. When discussing the terms of the parenting plan, it's essential to map out the following:
- Custody arrangements (physical custody or legal custody)
- Visitation schedules (including special holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc.)
- Education (will they attend public school, private school, daycare, etc.)
- Childcare arrangements (who will care for the children while parents are working)
- Health insurance (which parent will hold the healthcare policy that will cover the children's doctors' visits, medical expenses, etc.)
- College savings (each parent's contribution towards the children's college education)
- Medical decisions (coordination of medication, medical care, mental health care, etc.)
- Extended family relationships (visits with grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.)
Depending on your situation, a parenting plan may also need to include communication between parents and children. For example, if one parent has restricted visitation or supervised visitation, then a protocol of how communication will commence may be needed. When creating a parenting plan, having an experienced mediation attorney can help ensure that all aspects of child custody are covered with your children's best interests in mind.
Come Prepared With Options
A child custody mediation can take several hours to a full day, so having everything you want to discuss down on paper can make the process much more manageable. Before attending your child custody mediation session, do your homework and have a proposal ready so you can reference them during your session. When prepared, you'll be sure you don't forget anything essential for you to discuss.
It's also critical to remember that the point of a custody mediation is to agree to the best custody terms for your children. Be mindful not to focus on your ex-spouse and his or her shortcomings. Rehashing marital issues during a child custody mediation will only make the process stressful and distract the topic at hand. If things get tense, try to relax and remember that you are mediating for your child's best interest.
Listen to Your Ex-Spouse's Proposal
It's no doubt that your ex-spouse wants the best for your child just as much as you do. This is why it's important to listen to what your ex-spouse is asking for when discussing a parenting plan and other aspects of your child custody agreement. It may be difficult to put personal experiences aside, especially if you may be harboring resentment over the marital relationship, but be open to compromise and listen for your children's best interests. When it comes to how you and your spouse each want your custody arrangement to be handled, listening carefully and being fair can go a long way for your children's benefit.
Need Help With Child Custody Mediation in Minnesota? We Can Help.
Many divorcing couples struggle with coming to agreements regarding child custody. If you and your ex-spouse are facing child custody challenges, mediation may be the right choice for you and your children.