What Is Child Custody Mediation? How To Make It Work?

During or after a divorce, the next crucial thing to go over is child custody. However, these matters aren’t as simple as they seem. This is where mediation comes in. You would still need a child custody attorney but for guidance. Here is a guide to child custody mediation.

Child Custody Mediation

Child custody cases can either go to court and you know what that entails. Endless proceedings, long meetings, waiting games that never seem to end, and everything in between. Well, there is an easier and faster way to go about this and that is child custody mediation. As the name implies, child custody mediation is the settlement of child custody between the two parents in the presence of a third neutral party, called the mediator.

The mediator is much like a middleman and negotiator for the parents. A lot of the time, parents won’t be on the same page with the proposed conditions of the custody of their child/children, so having a mediator is good because they will try to make out a solution on the spot that works for both parties.

Usually, a mediator is someone who has legal knowledge and can also be a lawyer. However, he/she can’t be someone from either family or the parents.

Types Of Child Custody

If you didn’t know this already, there are two primary types of child custody.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is the custody of the child in which the custodial parent is responsible for keeping the child in their home. In these custody cases, the child might have to relocate to the parent’s home who has the primary custody. This means that they have to change schools, hospitals, and even leisure places.

Legal Custody

Legal custody implies the making of important life decisions for the child, if they are unable to do so themselves, due to not being of age. This involves education, religious upbringing, beliefs, etc.

Tips For Successful Child Custody Mediation

If you want to go down the mediation route and bypass the court proceedings, then you need to remember these tips for a successful mediating session.

Propose Something

It’s not best to show up unprepared for a child custody mediation session. You want to ensure that you have some proposed terms written and ready to go. You can request the other parent to make changes in the parenting style and custody, according to your terms and vice versa.

Remember that in custody cases, you can propose your own terms and then it’s up to the mediator to find a solution in the middle of it all.

Have An Open Mind

Remember that both of you are parents and have the best interest in mind for your children. This means that there will be suggestions and opinions from both sides. This isn’t something that you need to step away from. The whole point of mediation is to listen to both sides of the story in a comfortable setting and manner and then propose solutions.

So, always have an open mind and be open to listening to what the other side has to say. You’re not going to be right every time and the same goes for the other parent.

Keep Your Mind Relaxed

As if going through a divorce wasn’t bad enough for your mental health, now you have to deal with the grueling and very hard child custody case. It is scary. To think that you might lose your child to the other parent is a feeling you’re not ready to understand. This is why you need to relax yourself and keep your mind at peace.

Whatever needs to happen will happen and you need to stop stressing over it. Try to get a good night’s rest before these meetings because your mind will need all of the Zen it can get.

Don’t Bring Up Unrelated Issues

Divorce is a hard thing to go through and it can make a lot of people bitter and sad, understandably so. But child custody mediation isn’t the place to point fingers. You have to reel the anger in and think about the kids that are bigger than both of you.

You need to set your ego aside and swallow the bitter pill of engaging with your ex-spouse to discuss the best interests of your children. Once you look at the bigger picture, you’ll see that all of the finger-pointing and blaming is small and irrelevant.

Be Mindful Of Your Tone

Lashing out can turn into a pit for you. The whole gist of mediation is to get settled with the child custody as smoothly and quickly as you can without getting the court involved. It’s a relaxed procedure that has a lot of room for negotiation.

Keeping that in mind, make sure that you’re not losing your temper or hitting the opposing party below the belt. It’s not worth it and honestly, it will make you look petty and stubborn. So, always keep your tone professional and if you have any arguments, then you can cordially resolve them.

Consider Online Mediation

If the reason for your divorce was harrowing like physical and emotional abuse, then it might not be the best idea to sit face-to-face with the abuser in a meeting. This can mess up your mind and mental peace. So, if that’s the reason, then you can request your family lawyer Fairfax VA to conduct online mediation sessions.

It’s still daunting to see the person, but at least you’ll be safe from immense emotional stress and you can get by the meeting a lot easier. If you have a good enough reason for the divorce and child custody, then you’re in the clear.

Control Your Emotions

You’re sad and angry. That’s completely normal. You just went through the painful process of divorce. Of course, you won’t be dancing and have a skip in your step. It’s very easy to let the reins of emotions loose and break down wherever and whenever, but you want to reel it in while in a mediation meeting for child custody.

You need to have a clear head to make important decisions and you can’t let your emotions get the best of you. This is why, if you can, try to consider therapy and journal your thoughts. Once your mind is flushed of the thoughts and emotions, you’ll feel a lot lighter.

Don’t Let It Be The Last Resort

Mediation is a great way to settle child custody, that is if both parties are willing and cooperative. That’s not always the case. So, if you think that the mediation is going nowhere and you’re not getting the results you want, then you can certainly opt for a court custody order and let the judge handle the rest for you.

It might take a bit more time, but you have to do what you’re comfortable with and sometimes the easiest options aren’t it.


Mediation is a really important thing to implement while discussing things like child custody, visitation, etc., because it provides a neutral ground for two people with different perspectives to meet in the middle. You would need the help from your child custody lawyer Fairfax VA to go through the process with the right knowledge.

Categories:   Laws & Regulations