When a couple with children divorces, they may decide to do mediation, or maybe they are ordered to do so by the court. If you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody matters, your case may go to mediation before it goes to court.
Successful child custody mediation results in a written parenting agreement that is finalized and entered in a court order. If you and the other parent are not able to agree on child custody, the court will have to decide the matter.
By being prepared, you can walk out of mediation with an agreement instead of having to battle it out in court. Here is what you need to bring and discuss at your appointment so you can come to an agreement that is favorable for all involved.
What to Bring
You will need to bring documents related to your child to the mediation session. Here are some items that are good to have on hand:
- Court documents. Bring the petition for custody in court, as well as any court paperwork relating to your divorce.
- Your proposed parenting plan. It is good to have some sort of plan in place. If the other parent rejects it, you will get a better grasp on what issues need to be addressed before moving forward.
- Your child’s school calendar. Bring your child’s school calendar that shows days off, early dismissal days, and parent-teacher conference days so you can plan parenting time now.
- Your child’s extracurricular calendar. Bring or write down the schedule of all the extracurricular activities your child participates in or plans to participate in. This gives both parents an idea of their child’s schedule so you can work custody around it.
- Contact information. Have contact information for important people in your child’s life, such as names and phone numbers of schools, doctors, and babysitters.
What to Discuss
Here are some topics you may want to discuss at mediation:
- Legal and physical custody. Obviously, you will want to discuss child custody, but note that there are two main types of custody. Legal custody (Decision-Making Authority) involves making important child-rearing decisions on matters such as education and medical care. Physical custody (Parenting Time) refers to when the child will spend time with each parent.
- Holidays and birthdays. How will you decide Parenting Time on important dates such as holidays and birthdays? Have a firm plan for dividing up holidays and birthdays each year.
- Schedule modifications. When something unexpected happens that affects Decision-Making or Parenting Time, such as a child or parent being sick, how will you deal with it? Find ways to handle modifications to the schedule.
- Communication. You and the other parent will need to communicate about your child, even if you are not on the best terms. Think about what type of communication will work best for you—texts, emails, and phone calls are all options.
Contact Us Today
Mediation may be court-ordered when there are children involved. For the best outcome possible, it’s crucial that you be prepared.
When you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody, the team at Tanis McGonegal Family Law, P.C. can help. If your child custody matter goes to court, we can help you navigate the system and argue your position in front of the judge. To schedule a consultation with our Colorado child custody lawyers, call (303) 465-4605 or fill out the online form.