Sharing child custody after divorce requires a lot of both parents. One of the foremost requirements is that the parents continue to communicate about things such as when to drop off the kids or when one parent wants to trade parenting time for that week.
It may take awhile before such back-and-forth feels natural, if the divorce itself was acrimonious. But if it was not, child custody matters may have been settled through mediation. That is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parents work with a mediator to try to reach a settlement outside of court. Child custody mediation is common in many states.
There are some things that parents should keep in mind before going into mediation to resolve their child custody issues. First of all, you need to have a clear idea of your goals and concerns are. Bringing supportive documents, as allowed by your local jurisdiction, will help you make your case. If you can speak to your ex beforehand, you may find that you have some things you agree on, which would make the mediation easier.
Finally, remember that the purpose of a child custody plan is to create a living arrangement that is in the children’s best interest. This could mean that the spouses have to compromise on some of their desires to create a plan that is feasible and as beneficial to the children’s lives as possible.
If mediation fails, it may be necessary to have the court decide on custody. A family law attorney could help make your case in that situation.
Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce Confidential: Preparing for Child Custody Mediation,” Caroline Choi, May 23, 2014