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Mediating child custody

Florida parents who are in the process of divorce may wonder how to come up with a parenting plan without unnecessary strife. For parents who are interested in a cooperative divorce, negotiation and cooperation are essential steps. More spouses are turning to mediation and dispute resolution rather than court in order to make the process of dividing one family into two households as low-stress as possible. Knowing what to expect when going into mediation is one way to help make things easier.

The first step is for each spouse to make a list before entering mediation of what the issues are, what the parent's primary concerns are and what that parent prefers as a custody and visitation schedule. Having it written down can help ensure that a person does not forget to raise important issues during the heat of the moment. When a child has special needs, it can also help for the parent to list any doctors, teachers or other contacts that could assist the mediator in making a recommendation.

Next, many parents may benefit from meeting with a counselor prior to the mediation. Much of the battle in a divorce is being able to present a calm statement when speaking to a mediator, negotiating with the other spouse or delivering testimony on the stand. Talking to a trained professional may help a person learn how to put the best foot forward. It may also help to discuss things with the other parent to see if any agreements can be made in advance.

A lawyer may be able to help parents devise a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the children. It may also be possible for a lawyer to present the case to a mediator or judge.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Preparing for Child Custody Mediation", Caroline Choi, May 23, 2014

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