Divorce isn't easy on any family. When children are involved, it becomes even more difficult. Each parent wants time with their children. Hopefully, they also want what's best for their children. Agreeing on a shared custody schedule can be difficult, though, even when both parties are committed to making it work.
Mediation is a process where parents are able to discuss disagreements with a third party present. That third party is known as a mediator. Mediators can help divorcing partners come to an agreement on a parenting plan. In some cases, parents still can't come to an agreement. In those cases, mediators may advise the court and the parents with a written recommendation.
Mediators will meet with parents and ask them questions about their relationship and family life.
They are trying to get information so they can make an educated recommendation, not take sides. It's important to be honest with the mediator in making responses. It's also important to make it clear that your child's welfare is a priority in your life.
Many divorce attorneys will counsel their clients on what to do in mediation.
Most of the advice that they give is rooted in good common sense. It's important to be level-headed, to be able to see the other parent's perspective and not to make light of situations that have been difficult for the children involved.
In the end, shared child custody arrangements tend to follow one of a few common schedules. Some of these require lots of movement on the child's part (two days with one parent, followed by two with the other). Keep in mind that as the child ages, changes may have to be made to accommodate their increased commitments and responsibilities. Also bear in mind that other factors, like one parent having a job offer in another city, may also require custody schedule adjustments.