What Not to Say in Child Custody Mediation

A good lawyer should prep you for what to say and more importantly what not to say in child custody mediation

September 23, 2021

Child custody is typically the most emotionally charged portion of divorce mediation. You and your ex loved one another once, and that’s the spirit you have to remember when it’s time to negotiate. Put aside all the baggage and drama. Instead, focus on the kids and remember when you first fell in love with the person across the table. Your divorce lawyer should prepare you by reminding you of the following:

What Not to Say in Child Custody Mediation

“I will never be able to work things out with my ex.” 

Mediation is an excellent solution for some couples and a horrible solution for everyone else. That’s because mediation requires both parties to be willing to compromise. While it can save you a lot of money and some time, but only if everyone is willing to put in the effort. Otherwise, it will be just another legal expense that doesn’t go anywhere.

A good divorce lawyer will not support mediation if it’s a bad fit for you. If you genuinely can’t work things out, you need to choose a path other than mediation.

“That’s private information.” 

When it comes to child custody mediation, very few things are off-limits. What other adults will be around your children, your finances, your lifestyle, etc., all come into play. That’s because the mediator is prioritizing your children’s needs over your privacy. And while this is uncomfortable, it is a necessary step to ensure your children’s best interests.

Instead of balking at the idea of sharing your private life, just come prepared. Over-explain and document what you can. However uncomfortable it makes you now, being helpful in the short run will help you have a better relationship with your children long term.

Saying “my” children as opposed to “our” children

Child custody mediation is all about finding the best possible solution for your children. When you use the term “my” children, you are discounting your former partner. And while it might feel good at the moment, this type of passive-aggressive behavior only hurts you. The best course of action is to be fully committed to the process.


Speaking of process, it’s pivotal that you trust the process. Be as transparent and prepared as possible to share your side of things with the mediator. And trust that the mediator will cover all the bases. A good mediator will ask you about all the necessary components that pertain to your children. And once a mediation goes off-topic, it can often get emotional quickly, and then the session is usually ended. Remember, the focus of your mediation is what’s best for your kids.

“Yes” to Everything

While you don’t want to disagree on every little detail, saying yes to each thing is equally as bad. Your divorce attorney should help you work through your authentic desires. You should have a realistic list of wants, and your children will be best served if you stand up for yourself. Understandably, divorce mediation is emotionally and physically draining. While it might be tempting just to go along to get along, remember that the compromises made in that room will have a long-lasting impact.

Raised Voices

If there was ever a day to keep calm, this is that day. Make a point to eat well and get plenty of rest in the days leading up to your mediation. Come prepared with a list of items to discuss and multiple schedule proposals. Be a team player, not a doormat.

The first person to raise their voice, use foul language, or otherwise use intimation will be weaker in negotiations moving forward. Keep your eye on the ball and your children center stage.

At the end of the day, the compromise worked out will be the best for your children. Your ability to be present, transparent, and honest will shorten this ordeal as much as possible. Be sure to bookmark this page as you prepare so you remember what not to say in child mediation.

Call today to speak with Hollie A. Lemkin to discuss your questions & issues!


More Articles

Average Alimony Payment in California (2024) – Calculating Spousal Support in CA

We’re here to alleviate stress and provide compassionate law advice.

May 05, 2024

California Domestic Violence Statistics [2024 Updated]

We’re here to alleviate stress and provide compassionate law advice.

May 05, 2024