Figuring out child custody is often one of the hardest parts of going through a divorce. Emotions often take over, and this can result in lots of arguing and name-calling.
Mediation is one alternative to combative litigation, and it is a good option for parents that can communicate and are willing to compromise. Making custody decisions via mediation is beneficial because it allows both sides to discuss things together and come up with an arrangement that is best for the child.
Basics of mediation
According to FindLaw, a mediator, who is a neutral party, leads the mediation sessions and works with both sides to come up with a fair divorce agreement. The mediator allows both sides to express their thoughts, emotions, wants and needs. The mediator also offers creative solutions when each side is having difficulty coming to an agreement. Mediation is not only less expensive than litigation, but it is also less stressful, the parties are in control of the outcome and the outcome is generally of high quality.
How to prepare for custody discussions
When it comes to figuring out custody, otherwise known as conservatorship in Texas, each parent should come prepared to the sessions. They should organize their thoughts and take note of concerns. They should also prepare sample agreements and parenting schedules, understanding that they are just a starting point.
Best interest considerations
When figuring out how much time a child will spend with each parent and how to schedule this time, parents should consider what is in the child’s best interest. The Child Welfare Information Gateway discusses some considerations such as:
- Health and protection of the child
- Ability of each parent to provide a loving and stable home environment
- The child’s age and extracurricular activities
- Relationships with other relatives
- Current living situation
- Each parent’s work and social schedule
Making conservatorship agreements is not easy. However, mediation allows for a collaborative environment in which the parents can agree on what is best for the child’s welfare.