Mediation can be faster, less expensive and more confidential than a contested divorce. But more important than anything else, it can also lead to the best outcome for your children if you come prepared.

Maintaining cooperation with your partner can be vital to the healthy behavioral, academic and psychological upbringing of your child. And fostering that teamwork can begin with a jointly-crafted parenting plan. Mediation can get you there, but make sure you’re prepared for the shared process of determining your parenting plan.

Penning a plan

Going in without a plan can lead to haphazard results, or worse, you may not be able to get the deal your children need to thrive. You’ll need to decide precisely what you want out of your mediation:

  • Children first: The main directive of this process is to find what will work best for your children. If you show up with a plan that is clearly in their best interest, you’ll probably be more likely to get everyone on board with your ideas.
  • Set your goals: While it can be tempting to shoot for the moon, know where in the plan you want to remain steadfast, and where you can give some ground. Fighting tooth and nail on every point could mean you have to cede ground on points you really care about.
  • Do your homework: Custody can come with child support. Calculating the exact cost of raising children is nearly impossible. But with some hard work, you can try to get in the ballpark. Too much may cause your partner to balk at the price tag, and not enough may leave you wanting month to month.

Mediation is the art of give and take, but having a plan in place can help ensure your child gets the best outcome possible. Make sure they get the result they need by showing up with a plan in hand.