Family & Juvenile
Law Section “Top 10’s”
Top Ten List - Prepare your Client for Custody Mediation
By: Justin Sasser
- Have a face to face meeting prior to mediation to discuss overall process and goals of mediation.
- Create a list of objectives and issues to address so that your client has something to take away and prepare for mediation.
- Review with client - Legal Custody (Sole vs. Joint).
- Review with client - Residential Custody (Primary vs. Shared).
- Review with client - Impact of Shared Physical Custody on child support calculations.
- Review with client - Child Access Schedule - Weekly/Holidays/Summer - actually get a calendar out and show client how their proposed schedule plays out and the potential impact upon parents and children. Make sure your client has calendars to map out the proposed schedules.
- Review with client - alternatives to child access plan - be ready with response to what other parent may propose.
- Remind Client that they are not required to resolve custody/child access issues through mediation, but there is much less control over the outcome if the parties leave it to the Court to decide.
- Address any special needs of children (or parents!).
- Advise client that open ended, non-descriptive child access schedules are hard to enforce and may lead to additional trips to court. The old proverb that "Good fences make for good neighbors" comes to mind.