What is Fairness In Divorce Mediation and Child Custody Mediation?
As a mediator, I often get asked the question: What is fair in divorce mediation? What is fair in child custody mediation? The simple answer is this: it’s whatever you decide. There is an incredible range of things the judge or referee will think is fair, and accept.
There are also a few things that the judge will not think is fair. For example: switching off children every other year, even if that might be easier for you. The judge or referee will not think such a schedule fair because it is not in a child’s best interests not to see either parent for a whole year at a time.
But if you can justify clearly to a court why you need to have a child schedule different than most people the court will likely agree. Unless your reasons are selfish or silly. If you can’t make a good justification, a judge or referee will likely not accept it.
So what is fair, much of the time, is what you parents decide is fair. Not what I think as a mediator. Not what other parents in the past have agreed is fair. The essence of mediation is that you decide.
A Bookshelf of Options
if you go to court without being able to agree, the court gets to decide what’s fair from start to finish. If a book on a bookshelf is an options, then a judge has only a few books to choose. But if you go to mediation and decide something as a couple, the court may be reluctant to interfere. So there is a greater number of books (options) that the court will allow you to choose from that bookshelf. And that makes sense. I f you agree, then why should the court care. Only if the court believes you are wrong, and what you want is not in the best interests of you child. That’s why divorce mediation and child custody mediation is often better than court. Courts-ruled decisions are sometimes needed, but I often say, try it yourself first. It is often faster, cheaper and better. This video might help you see things from a mediator’s prespective.