The Dos and Don’ts of Child Custody Mediation

Child custody mediation is a process that helps parents make decisions about how they will share parenting responsibilities after a separation or divorce. The goal is to create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the children. Mediation can be a positive experience if both parents are willing to work together to create a plan. However, there are some dos and don’ts you should keep in mind to make the process successful.


1. Come prepared: Prepare to discuss your wishes and interests regarding child custody. This includes your preferred parenting time schedule, your child’s needs and interests, and any concerns you have. Be sure to bring any relevant documentation, such as school records or medical reports in support of your wishes.

2. Listen to the other parent: Be willing to listen to the other parent’s concerns and ideas. Try to understand their perspective and acknowledge their feelings. This can help encourage cooperative problem solving.

3. Be flexible: Be open to compromise and willing to consider different options for shared parenting time. Remember that the goal is to create a plan that works for everyone.

4. Focus on the children: Keep the focus on the children’s needs and interests. Avoid making the discussion about your personal feelings towards the other parent or any grievances you may have.

5. Keep the conversation respectful: Keep in mind that you are working towards a common goal. Avoid blaming or attacking the other parent. Use “I” statements to express your concerns and feelings.


1. Don’t use the mediation to discuss past issues: Mediation is not the time to bring up past grievances or to try and accuse the other parent. This is counterproductive and can slow down progress.

2. Don’t be inflexible: Refusing to compromise or to consider different options can prolong the process and make it more difficult to come to a resolution.

3. Don’t make the children choose: The children should not be used as pawns in the discussion or be made to choose between parents.

4. Don’t interrupt or talk over the other parent: This can be perceived as disrespectful and can make the other parent less likely to listen to your perspective.

5. Don’t be hostile or aggressive: Aggressive or hostile behavior can create a negative and unproductive environment that can make the mediation process ineffective.

In conclusion, it’s important to approach mediation with an open mind and cooperative attitude. When both parents are committed to creating a parenting plan that prioritizes the children’s well-being, the process can be successful. Keep in mind the dos and don’ts outlined above to ensure a positive outcome.

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