Mediation is one way the courts are trying to cope with the ever increasing divorce rate and courtroom time. Mediation, hopefully, tries to encourage parental cooperation in the battle over custody and visitation rights. A mediator is court appointed and tries to find some middle ground between the divorcing parents and looking out for the best interests of the children.
The bulk of mediation takes place between the two parents with the mediator as a neutral party. It's his job to see that the children are represented in the decisions of visitation, primarily. Sometimes, schools, doctors, events, etc. can be settled at these sessions.
There are several good points for mediation that judges like other than they don't physically have to be present. One is that each party has the opportunity to give his or her suggestions for custody issues and visitation schedules. Both parents feel they have some input, thus relieving hostilities, hopefully.
Most states, however, have a formula that the courts start with, such as every other weekend, which holidays and out-of-school vacation times. Another advantage is having a “neutral" person to alleviate the tensions and forestall arguments that may escalate. By keeping the parents focused on the issues, a parental plan can be formed.
Of course, many people see the mediation process as less stressful than having a set time period before an actual judge in an actual courtroom setting. This makes most common people less prone to speaking out when they should, plus a judge really doesn't want to hear petty arguments of “he said or did" or “she said or did".
Mediators are there to offer suggestions and techniques to the parents that may not have been thought of before. They help work out compromises and alternatives between the parents. Mediators should be experienced in child custody issues and bring understanding to the process.
The needs of an older child are far different than that of a pre-teen child. An older child believes that he shouldn't have to see one parent at a given time because of a judge, whom he doesn't know, orders him to. Mediators explain this sort of behavior to each parent and, hopefully, avoid future suspicions and animosity.
Be sure to look into the possibility of mediation in your area. Ask questions as to who are some of the court mediators being used. Be clear that you want the best interests of your children served and that you will do whatever it takes to ensure their happiness as much as you can.
Do your homework and have a viable plan to present. You have the right to be a part of your children's lives, not just a “meal ticket". Mediation is one of the best methods to ensure that your children grow up to be well-adjusted and happy after your upcoming divorce.
Gerald Costa has gone through the divorce and child custody process. I put together an ebook to help those that have to go through a divorce where child custody will become an issue. Find out more Family Law, Child Custody and Custody Battle information at http://www.secretsoffamilylaw.com