As part of the custody process in Florida, you may attend mediation. While you know that you may reach a custody agreement through mediation, if you are not on good terms with your co-parent, it is easy to assume you won’t reach an agreement, and the mediation will be a waste of time.
You should still attend your custody mediation. Prepare for it by making a list of the biggest custody issues and your potential solutions.
The best interests of your child is your priority
Remember that the point of the mediation is to come up with a custody schedule that is in the best interests of your child. It is not a time to bring up all of the bad things your co-parent says or does or why their parenting style is wrong. Keep the focus on your child.
It may help to speak with an experienced custody attorney before you attend your mediation. They can provide you with valuable advice and make sure you are concentrating on the right goals.
What mediation can do
There are many benefits of trying custody mediation. Everything said during the mediation session is confidential, which means that even if you end up at a custody trial, nothing that was said during the mediation can be used against you.
The mediator does not make custody decisions for you, so if you and your co-parent cannot agree, you won’t be stuck with an order someone else, like a judge, made. At best, the time spent in mediation, even if ultimately unsuccessful, will help you understand the issues better.
The mediator’s role
You may think if the mediator cannot make decisions, mediation is pointless. However, the mediator still plays a valuable role. They encourage both you and your co-parent to listen to each other’s sides, provide feedback and offer potential solutions.
In short, yes, mediation is worth it, but that does not mean it is always successful. You may still end up going to a custody trial but attending mediation can give you a better idea of what to expect.