Mediation is a tool used by the courts to iron out decisions for a variety of reasons like divorce or contract disputes. Florida courts may order mediation for issues about child custody or the parents may attend mediation before a court hearing. There are benefits to using mediation to decide a parenting plan.

1. Neutral third party

Like the judge in a courtroom, a mediator does not take sides. He or she is a neutral third party who facilitates discussions between the parents. Unlike a judge, the mediator does not determine the outcome of the meeting. Agreements cannot come to fruition unless both parties approve.

2. Less stress on parents and children

Contested and adversarial custody disputes create a negative impact on children. Bringing home the frustrations and stress from a trial may keep their focus on what they are feeling and not the emotional well-being of their children.

Since mediation is between the parents and does not involve the court, it can be quicker than going to trial. Depending on the complexity of the case, meetings may take one or two weeks, while a trial can drag on for months, increasing stress on the entire family.

3. Easy communication

Mediation may be less threatening and less stressful than a courtroom trial. Mediations are private, where parents can speak freely. Parents may also learn to communicate better with each other and create an effective working relationship for the betterment of their children.

Before attending a child custody mediation, parents should prepare to explain their ideas for a parenting plan. It may help the negotiations to bring a sample plan with schedules and provisions.