Mediation is a beneficial tool for many who find themselves involved in child custody litigation. Not only is mediation cost-efficient relative to a trial, but it can lead to quicker resolutions. However, mediation is only as beneficial as you make it. In this blog, we provide three tips for preparing to go to mediation in a child custody proceeding.
Be Open-Minded. The first tip is to remember to be open-minded going to mediation. Remember that mediation is simply a negotiation between the parties, so you must be willing to negotiate. Many litigants go into mediation with a mindset that makes him/her unwilling to compromise. If this is your mindset, you will most likely come out of mediation in the same position that you were in when it started. It’s also important to remember that courts can be unpredictable at times, and could enter an order that’s far more adverse to you than any agreement you could reach in mediation. Overall, going in with an open mind and being willing to compromise on your goals will go a long way in resolving your case. Furthermore, even if mediation fails to resolve the entire case, it may be used to stipulate to certain exhibits or otherwise. It is only in the rarest of cases that mediation does not provide significant benefits to the parties as they litigate child custody.
Set Goals. The best way to be open-minded going into mediation is to set goals. To fully prepare for mediation, you have to know exactly what it is that you want to achieve. This will then allow you to develop the best approach to take to achieve your goals in mediation. Moreover, setting goals tends to lead to flexibility and compromise because you will be more focused on the big picture rather than small details. Setting goals allow you to make the most of mediation. For instance, if your goal is joint legal custody, be willing to be open-minded and listen to why the other side may be disagreeing with your proposal. It may be that compromise language may be reached that satisfies both parties’ desires have sole legal custody, such as the following: “The parties agree to joint legal custody, but in the event of a dispute that cannot reconcile, Mother (or Father) may make the decision with either party remaining able to litigate the matter.”
Think of Your Children. Custody proceedings tend to be emotional times for those involved, and with that, some may let the emotional aspect get the best of their decision making. It’s understandable why it happens, but it isn’t beneficial or in your children’s best interest. When you go into mediation, try to remember what’s best for your children and not get caught up in emotions involved with the “other side.” If you cannot explain what you want or why you are rejecting the opposing party’s resolution is in the children’s best interests, you probably need to reconsider your position. This is the most important consideration for any court. Resolving your custody dispute as quickly as possible is best for your children, and one of the best ways to achieve this is mediation.
Child custody proceedings can be a trying time for individuals. Not to mention, these are very personal and emotional matters for people when it comes to dealing with sharing their children with their ex-spouse or soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you are in a child custody case, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of an attorney to help navigate through the process. The right mediation may resolve an otherwise toxic situation that is headed to a highly contested and expensive divorce trial. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle all types of child custody cases throughout the State of Indiana and understand the significance of the same. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.