Cooperative Family Mediation

The most important thing is to come to the Cooperative Family Mediation session with an open mind.  Be willing to listen, not just hear what is being said. Parents who are open and listen to the other parent, their attorney, and the mediator are the ones who are able to reach an agreement and develop a mutually satisfactory parenting plan. When one or both parents believe that there  is  only  one solution  to  custody  and  visitation  issues,  it  is usually difficult to reach a compromise. If you come prepared to be open, you can brainstorm options until you find a solution that works for everyone, especially your children.

Come to your Cooperative Family Mediation prepared with several options regarding time sharing schedules.    Talk  to your attorney before the mediation regarding different options and the  possible  result  if  a  judge  is  compelled  to  make  these decisions.    Think about and write down your proposals and questions so that you can refer to them during the mediation.  You do not want to forget to discuss something that is important to you.  Cooperative Family Mediation is not the place to focus on your history with the other parent. Mediation usually breaks down when parents begin to rehash old marital arguments.    Instead, Cooperative Family Mediation is a place to focus on the future and resolve your parenting issues.  Be prepared to communicate about your children and your perception of their specific needs. If you are concerned the other parent might let your children stay up too  late  on school  nights,  talk  about  their  need  for  routine  and structure. If you are concerned the other parent will not take your son to practice regularly, talk about how important the sport is to your son and the values he learns from the game.  In considering these  issues,  it  is  also  very  important  to  be  open  to  what  you might need to change for your children’s benefit.

Bring a sense of humor to session.  At times during Cooperative Family Mediation, things get tense.  This is natural as both parents are concerned about their child.  Try to maintain a perspective that balances your desires, the other parent’s desires, and your children’s needs. While this is your goal, it is not always easy.  If things get tense, remember you are there for your children.   You  do  not  have  to  like  the  other  parent  to make  an agreement  on their  behalf.   When things get tense, listen to the mediator’s advice and consider it.  Recognize that your mediator’s job is to help you balance your children’s needs and each of your desires. She does this while encouraging you to reach a parenting solution.    Sometimes  a  humorous,  but  not  rude,  comment  will ease  the  tension  and  help  everyone  refocus  on  developing  a solution that is best for your children.  Most importantly, remember to focus on your children.