Tips for Handling Child Custody in Mediation Settings
Child custody is frequently the most hot-button issue in divorce. If you and your spouse are mediating your divorce, you can probably expect to spend the most time talking about this issue, unless you’ve been able to come to an arrangement of your own already.
Here are a few tips to help custody-related negotiations go as smoothly as possible in the mediation setting.
- Be mindful of your language and tone: What you say and how you say it will play a big role in the success of your negotiations. Make sure you talk about the children as though they are both of your kids, and not just yours. Talk about how you will continue to parent together, rather than trying to crowd your spouse out of the picture. Be understanding of their perspective and the fact that they, like you, love your children. This will go a long way toward creating more respectful negotiations.
- Keep the focus on the kids: When talking about custody, make sure the focus remains on the children. Don’t bring up any other issues from your marriage that are unrelated to the kids—it’s not the time or place.
- Control your emotions: There are going to be times where the topics of discussion can become emotional. It’s important to avoid getting heated and to stay in control. Mediators can help with this, but only to a certain degree. If you can feel yourself getting angry, ask to take a break.
- Don’t seek to punish your spouse: It is not uncommon (unfortunately) for some parents to attempt to use custody as an issue to punish their spouse during divorce, refusing to give ground and trying to take away custody and visitation as much as possible. But this isn’t a healthy way to negotiate, and it’s also entirely unfair to your children. As difficult as it can be, you must keep a neutral perspective and remember it’s important for your kids to maintain strong relationships with both parents.
For more tips about negotiating child custody in mediation, contact an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer at Solutions Divorce Mediation.