What Not to Do in a Child Custody Mediation

March 3, 2024by Adam Sacks

Navigating child custody mediation can be emotionally charged and challenging for all parties involved. Legal advice on what not to say during these often tense negotiations offers guidance on how to approach discussions in a manner that fosters a more positive and constructive outcome for all parties.

Mastering the art of effective communication in child custody mediation is essential for achieving a fair and amicable resolution that prioritizes the best interests of the child.


Child Custody Mediation

Child custody mediation can be a beneficial process for divorcing parents to come to agreements about their children outside of the courtroom. Navigation this process will help individuals carefully and avoid common mistakes that can hinder reaching a fair and amicable resolution.

In child custody mediation, mistakes in communication, fairness, and understanding can have lasting and impactful consequences on the well-being of the children involved. Parents to be mindful of these potential pitfalls and approach the mediation process with patience, cooperation, and a focus on the best interests of the children.


Child Custody Mediation


Don’t Make Unreasonable Demands or Requests

Insisting on unreasonable demands during mediation, such as requesting sole custody without considering the best interests of the child, can escalate conflicts, leading to increased animosity between the parents.

This can create a hostile environment that negatively affects the children’s emotional and psychological well-being. Both parties need to be aware of the law and prioritize the best interests of the child in custody mediation. Being willing to compromise is essential for reaching a fair and balanced agreement that serves the children’s needs.

Some examples of unreasonable demands and requests include seeking disproportional child support or denying the other parent access to the children without valid reasons.

Making unreasonable demands can hinder the mediation process, prolonging the conflict and causing harm to all parties involved, especially the children. Prioritizing compromise and the best interests of the child is necessary for successfully navigating child custody mediation.


Don’t Have Emotional Outbursts During Mediation Sessions

During mediation sessions, emotions may arise, but they can be effectively managed by maintaining a calm and neutral demeanor. Creating a safe and supportive environment for all parties involved in the mediation process is essential. This can be achieved by actively listening to their concerns and utilizing active listening techniques to validate their emotions.

When addressing the other parent’s emotional outbursts, remain composed and do not allow the emotions of the participants to affect your demeanor. By staying calm, one can help de-escalate the situation and steer the discussion back to a constructive path. It is also important to provide reassurance and support to individuals who are experiencing emotional distress.

Active listening is a fundamental tool in managing emotional outbursts during mediation sessions. Demonstrating empathy and understanding can validate the emotions of the parties involved and effectively address their concerns.


Don’t Ignore the Child’s Best Interests

Ignoring the child’s best interests in custody mediation can have detrimental consequences on the child’s well-being, emotional stability, and future development. When the child’s needs are not prioritized, it can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and confusion for the child. This can result in long-term:

  • Inability to form healthy relationships
  • Emotional and mental health issues
  • Poor choices in the future

Neglecting the child’s best interests during mediation can lead to a sense of abandonment and betrayal, causing lasting emotional trauma. These negative experiences can hinder the child’s ability to trust others and feel secure in their environment, ultimately impacting their overall emotional stability.


Don't Ignore the Child's Best Interests


Don’t Fail to Consider the Other Parent’s Perspective

When going through child custody mediation, acknowledge and consider the other parent’s perspective. Regardless of any personal conflicts or differences, recognize their feelings and their role in your child’s life.

Showing respect and empathy towards the other parent can create a more cooperative environment during mediation. By understanding their perspective, you can work towards a mutually beneficial agreement that serves the best interests of your child.

Failing to consider the other parent’s perspective can lead to tension and hostility, making it more difficult to reach a fair resolution. Approaching the mediation process with an open mind and a willingness to understand and respect the other parent’s point of view can lead to a more harmonious and cooperative co-parenting relationship in the long run.

If you are looking for an experienced family lawyer to assist with your mediation and you live in Florida, click here to book a free consultation!



[1] Bieber, C. (2023, March 23). Child Custody: Types, Laws & Parental Rights. Forbes Advisor. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/child-custody/child-custody/

by Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is lead Family Law Attorney at Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A. in Jacksonville, Florida. He has a BA in Psychology from 1994, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Sacks and Sacks Law
1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

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