Common Scenarios in Custody Mediation

While every custody case is unique, there are common scenarios that arise. The following examples illustrate what could happen during your child custody mediation.

Don’t act angry. Instead, speak about your concerns for your kids.

One Parent Begins Speaking, While the Other Listens Defensively

Let’s say you are in the middle of answering a question asked by the mediator when your former spouse starts to act fearful by sitting up right with an anxious expression. If the mediator notices this, he or she may perceive the body language as indicative of an intimidating relationship outside of the mediation. Or the mediator could look at the behavior as melodramatic. It all depends on the situation. Either way, it’s best that you remain passive and ignore the demeanor of the other party.

If you jump in and dominate the discussion or display aggressive body language, you might come off like a bully. When you are too dominant you lose your advantage. Don’t act angry. Instead, speak about your concerns for your kids. Speak softly and control your body language.

One Parent Begins Speaking and the Other Interrupts

In this situation, you have the choice to stop talking or keep going. If you choose to stop talking, subtly indicate with your eyes and facial expression that you aren’t pleased, but that you are willing to let the other party vent. Do not engage in a back and forth conversation here. Simply let the mediator control the conversation. Wait until you are asked to finish the sentence you started.

If you choose to continue speaking while being interrupted, keep looking at the mediator and don’t raise your voice. It’s up to the mediator to ask the other parent to wait for their turn to speak. Whatever strategy you choose, don’t ask the other parent to stop talking; let the mediator handle that.

If you are the one listening and you feel compelled to clarify a fact, do not interrupt. This is discourteous behavior and makes you look controlling. Instead, use tactful grimaces and body language to show your disagreement.