Child mediation can be trying, but there are some things you should never say. These seven comments could ruin your ability to create a good future for your family post-divorce if said during child custody mediation.
#1 – “I will never be able to work things out with my ex.”
If you don’t believe that you can solve problems with your spouse, it’s going to be very difficult to have a successful mediation about child custody.
Many parents go to child custody mediation thinking that they will not have to cooperate with their spouse, and that mindset leads to wasted time and frustration for everyone involved. Because child custody is often the most important issue in a divorce, tensions can grow during child custody mediation.
Still, it’s important to try to keep an open mind to the possibilities of solutions that may come from working with – not against – your ex in mediation. If you believe real solutions are possible, then solutions will suddenly be more possible.
#2 – “It’s my way or the highway.”
Child custody mediation is the time to find solutions, and in a divorce, solutions must be made through compromises. In mediation, compromise is king.
With the attitude that you will not compromise in these deliberations, you can give up the ability to come up with a solution that might actually be acceptable to you. Compromises are the basis for many aspects of a successful divorce – and it’s better for your children’s future.
#3 – “I won’t talk about my private life.”
Though privacy is important for everyone, child custody mediation may require opening up about more intimate details of your life. From future relationships to living conditions, paychecks to life plans, child mediation may require you to explain yourself.
This exposure can be annoying and intimidating, but they need to understand the details of your home and lifestyle is how a mediator protects your children and secures a fair outcome for them.
It may be helpful to come with specific information and records with you to mediation in order to open up honestly about your living situation.
#4 – “I hate my spouse.”
There is a temptation for many people to use any face-to-face interactions with their ex to score points on them, but mediation is not the time to indulge in emotional outbursts.
Instead, use child custody mediation as a time to talk calmly, clearly, and rationally about what you want and need from the outcomes of the divorce. Just as much as you speak about the ways you would like the decisions to be made, listen to what your ex is saying about their expectations and desires.
When you can cool down and really listen in mediation, you will be able to speak more clearly and, in the end, get more of what you want than you would have by taking cheap shots at your ex.
#5 – “I don’t need an attorney for mediation.”
Though mediation should be a place of openness and understanding, it should not be a place to go without any guidance from an expert.
Because important ideas and decisions can be established in child custody mediation, it’s very important that you have an experienced attorney to guide you through the process and proceedings of child custody mediation.
Striking a balance between being open to the desires of your ex and working toward your own goals can be difficult, but it is crucial in successfully navigating a divorce. An experienced attorney can help you strike the right balance, deciding when to give and when to take, when to hold firm and when to release.
#6 – “Did I need to plan for this?”
It can be easy to get so overwhelmed by the demands of divorce that you don’t prepare for child custody mediation. Though this part of a divorce may not be known as well by the general public as other divorce proceedings, child custody mediation is one of the most important parts of many cases.
Without thinking about what you want and what you may be willing to give up, it will be difficult to succeed in any of your goals for child custody.
It’s expected that not everything will go to plan in child custody mediation, but it’s still important to have some plan to ground you in the proceedings. As you discuss minute topics to get a better understanding of the family dynamics, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and the larger goals that you have for the proceedings. Having a plan can keep you on track.
#7 – “This is about me.”
Child custody mediation is about children, not you. The entire domestic legal system in Maryland is meant to serve the vulnerable, especially children.
If you try to make the mediation about you and your ex over your children, you will not only lose the confidence of those judging whether your home is appropriate for children but you will also miss out on doing what is right for the future of your kids.
In everything that you do in child custody mediation, you should keep the wellbeing of your children at the forefront of your plan, your attitudes, and your considerations. If your kids come first, you plan, and you have an experienced guide, you will be able to make it through child custody mediation successfully.