What to Expect at your First Meeting with the Mediator

Before child custody mediation begins, the mediator is supposed to review all the court documents relating to your child custody case. He or she might not look closely at other documents such as police reports or medical records, because of time restraints.

While you speak with the mediator, it’s important to keep your cool and avoid argument.

Once everyone is seated at the mediation, here is what you can expect to occur during the first 15 minutes:

  • You and the other parent will be given information that explains mediation and how it works. This information is typically put together by the staff at the mediation office in cooperation with the local family law courts.
  • You will be given literature on the impacts of divorce and custody on your children. A video will be shown alongside this information in an effort to instruct you on methods for making a separation easier on your children.
  • Both pieces of information will be followed up with a “pep-talk” on your children’s need for extra attention during a divorce. It will also be recommended that you cooperate as much as possible with the other parent, even if the two of you loathe one another.


It’s advised that you show interest in all three introductory steps. The mediator will be present, which means any body language or comments you make will be noticed. A positive attitude will reflect on you and your ability to shift from parents to co-parents.

The next phase of the mediation involves the mediator hearing your side of the case.   While you speak with the mediator, it’s important to keep your cool and avoid argument. If you feel you are being treated unfairly, speak with your attorney about the issues.

How Long will Child Custody Mediation Take?

Typically, child custody mediation will last about an hour. The goal is to have one mediation session, but there are cases where parents are asked to return to continue the mediation. Sometimes the mediator may request that you bring your children to the next session.