For divorcing parents, agreeing on child custody arrangements is not always easy. Sometimes, reaching out for help is beneficial in coming to an agreement.
Although some may think that going through the court is the only way to decide on custody, mediation is also an option, and it is usually beneficial. It helps parents discuss the issues in a less stressful environment so they can decide what is best for their child.
Mediation and child custody
According to FindLaw, mediation involves each parent and a neutral mediator. Under the guidance of the mediator, the parents are able to speak freely and discuss the factors involved with coming up with a co-parenting plan. If there are disagreements, the mediator has skills in conflict resolution and can help them put aside their personal issues and focus on the child’s needs.
Mediation provides a much less threatening environment than a courtroom and allows for better communication between the parents. Not only is this beneficial when deciding custody, but it also sets the tone for future interaction and cooperation. Going through mediation is a quicker process than a court trial, and it is much less expensive. Mediation even works for couples who have difficulty being in the same room together, as the mediation process can happen separately.
Factors regarding what is best for the child
The mediator will help the parents discuss what is in the best interest of the child. The Child Welfare Information Gateway states that some of the factors the parents should consider include:
- The age of the child
- The parents’ work and social schedules
- Physical, academic and mental needs of the child
- Ability of each parent to provide for the child’s basic needs
- The child’s current living situation
Other considerations include close family bonds, such as those with grandparents and other relatives.