As part of the custody process in New York, you may attend a custody mediation. There are many benefits to using mediation to resolve your custody situation, rather than going through traditional litigation.
Mediation is often challenging and emotionally draining; however, the result is likely to be better than you would get by letting a judge decide. You and your co-parent can discuss your custody concerns and issues with each other in mediation, with the benefit of a neutral third-party providing valuable advice and feedback on your respective positions.
There are several things that can increase your chance of a successful mediation. While some of these things may seem minor, they can have a significant impact on your overall medication experience.
Control your emotions
Most parents walk into a mediation session with various concerns about the other parent. This is natural since if you didn’t have some concerns, you wouldn’t necessarily need mediation. While you want to address your concerns, present them in a respectful manner and do not let your emotions control your behavior.
Have a realistic attitude about the outcome. In a perfect world, your children would spend every single Christmas with you, but your co-parent has an equal right to spend holidays with your children. A child custody attorney can provide you with honest and accurate feedback about your custody goals and tell you if your requests are unreasonable.
Stand up for yourself when necessary
However, do not feel pressured to automatically agree to the other parent’s demands either out of anxiety that if you say no, your co-parenting relationship will suffer, or the mediator may be unhappy with you. Parents sometimes leave custody mediations with an agreement with which they are not happy because they said yes to things they did not want to.
Remember that the other parent has the same rights to the children as you. During the mediation, do not use the word “my” when referring to the children. Something as seemingly minor as this can make the other parent feel hostile. Using the word “our” increases your chance of a productive mediation experience.
Creating a custody agreement in the best interests of everyone involved takes time and effort. Keeping this information in mind can minimize potential conflict.