How are Custody Issues Addressed in Mediation?

One of the best gifts a divorcing couple can give to their children is to work together to resolve their issues rather than tearing each other apart through a contentious court litigation fight.  Mediation can be the couple’s first opportunity to learn to work together under potentially stressful circumstances to make decisions in the best interests of their children.  When they mediate, the parties begin to learn how to communicate as an unmarried couple.  It is helpful to begin this process with a neutral trained professional mediator in the room as the couple establishes new and revised ways to communicate and make decisions together.  Mediation is by far the most positive and constructive way to get through the divorce process.

There are two types of custody issues which are addressed in a divorce.  There is legal custody and physical custody.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the right to make the big picture decisions in the child’s life regarding matters such as education, religion and medical issues.  Legal custody also entitles the parent to the child’s educational and medical records and information.  We begin all our mediation cases with joint legal custody.

Physical Custody

The other type of custody is physical custody.  This is the visitation/parenting time schedule.  This schedule lays out where the child spends his or her time on a daily or weekly basis.  The parenting time schedule will also include your agreement on whether you’re going to alternate holiday visitation and the logistics involved.

Custody and the Mediation Process

We put your children first by mediating the physical custody issues and drafting your Parenting Agreement before we begin to tackle the financial issues.  If the parenting issues are significantly complex, we have therapists who have been personally screened as a resource for additional parenting counseling.  One of the many values of divorce mediation, however, is that the divorcing couple begins to practice and learn how to parent with a professional neutral third party mediator in the room.