Navigating Carefully ─ What Not to Say in Child Custody Mediation


The world of child custody mediation is a delicate and intricate landscape, where the stakes are high and the line between success and failure is razor-thin, and make no mistake, you will notice it.

Conversations held within the confines of a mediation room can greatly impact the final outcome of your case, making it imperative for individuals to tread very carefully. A proficient child custody lawyer is a highly valuable asset in this extenuating process.

Nevertheless, gaining preliminary insights into what not to say during child custody mediation can empower parents to navigate these challenging waters with more confidence and efficacy by having some practice beforehand. This article seeks to illuminate some potential pitfalls and provide guidance to parents during this critical process.

Avoid Derogatory or Aggressive Comments about Your Ex-partner

The central focus of mediation is and must always be in the best interest of the child, not about venting your personal grievances or launching attacks against your former partner in any way.

Derogatory remarks or negativity aimed at your ex could even reach the point of being perceived as a willingness to engage in conflict rather than an attempt to collaborate for the good of your child. Instead, prioritize conversations centered on the well-being of your child, focusing on pertinent facts and punctual observations.

Respect Your Ex-partner’s Role in Your Child’s Life


Parents play unique and invaluable roles in their children’s lives. To undermine your ex-partner’s significance or belittle their connection with your child can also prove to be harmful to your case and to your child’s emotional well-being and could even result in trauma.

Avoid dismissing their parental abilities or the bond they share with your child. The goal of child custody mediation is to establish a fair and balanced parenting plan that acknowledges the essential roles both parents play in their child’s life and ensures it can be fulfilled.

Avoid Making Absolute Statements During the Process

During the mediation process, always avoid uttering phrases such as “I will never allow…” or “Over my dead body…”. These absolute statements can portray you as uncompromising, uncooperative, and not willing to put yourself in the situation of others, showing a lack of empathy.

Opt for language that communicates your readiness and to negotiate and seek common ground between the parties, demonstrating your flexibility and willingness to work towards a possible win-win solution.

Beware of Unsubstantiated Accusations

While it is critical to voice genuine concerns about your child’s safety and well-being, refrain from making accusations lacking substantial evidence. Unfounded allegations can harm your credibility and may be interpreted as attempts to alienate your child from the other parent, which consequently may backfire and result in the well-being of your child not being pursued in the best of ways.

The Goal Is Not ‘Winning’


A crucial understanding to grasp is that child custody mediation is not a battle to be won or lost, in fact, is not really a battle at all. Indications that you’re trying to ‘win’ or ‘beat’ your ex-partner could suggest that your primary focus is not your child’s best interest but your own competitiveness and even revenge feelings.

Instead, concentrate on how you and your ex-partner can both ‘win’ by crafting an environment that serves your child’s best interests.

In line with the above idea, it is helpful to view child custody mediation as a platform for collaboration rather than confrontation. Your mindset going into the process can significantly shape its direction and outcome.

A successful mediation outcome should aim for an equitable distribution of responsibilities and rights that respects the unique role each parent plays in the child’s life. This way, not only do both parents ‘win,’ but more importantly, the child does too.

Stay Open to Alternative Solutions and Compromises

Child custody mediation is fundamentally a collaborative process aimed at finding a balanced and favorable solution for all parties involved, especially the child. It’s crucial to enter the mediation room with a sense of openness and a willingness to explore alternative solutions and compromises that may arise during the discussions. Firms like PrimeLawyers often emphasize that being rigid or overly attached to a particular outcome may not only hinder the progress of mediation but may also be viewed unfavorably by the mediator or the court. This suggests the importance of maintaining a flexible attitude during such critical negotiations.


Avoid Discussing Your Personal Life

Child custody mediation is a critical process with a central aim: to determine an arrangement that best serves the child’s interests and welfare. Therefore, it is essential that this remains the focal point of the discussions, rather than an exploration of your personal life, problems, or relationship history.

Avoid introducing your current romantic endeavors into the conversation. Although new relationships may play a significant role in your life, the mediation process is neither the time nor place to discuss them, unless they directly impact your child’s well-being.

Similarly, while financial matters are a necessary topic in child custody mediation, this discussion should strictly revolve around issues directly connected to the child’s upkeep, such as child support, healthcare, education, and related expenses. Avoid digressing into broader financial matters unrelated to child support, such as personal debts, investments, or overall financial status.

Don’t Use Your Child as a Bargaining Chip


Statements like “If you let me have the house, you can have custody” hint at a willingness to use your child’s well-being as a bargaining chip for personal gain and are not really interested in how this process could affect the child. This is not only ethically problematic but can also paint you in a very negative light. The primary objective is to determine the best arrangement for the child, not to negotiate property or assets for your own benefit.

Avoid Blaming or Foul Language

Navigating the tumultuous waves of a divorce can be a challenging period, often riddled with intense emotions and a natural tendency to harbor feelings of resentment or blame.

These feelings, while valid and understandable, can inadvertently seep into the language used during the mediation process, potentially skewing the outcomes in an unfavorable direction.

Consequently, it is essential to consciously refrain from employing blaming language throughout the mediation discussions, rather than pointing fingers.


Approaching child custody mediation with the right preparation, mindset, and language, along with respect is paramount to securing a successful resolution for your child and both parties.

Although this process can be fraught with emotional tension and hard feelings, it is essential to maintain respectful, focused conversations that revolve around the child’s best interest. When in doubt, seeking advice from a legal professional can be immensely helpful, offering guidance and peace of mind, ensuring the child’s welfare remains the top priority.

If you’re in the Annapolis, Maryland area, The Law Office of Patrick Crawford is one of the premier law firms to contact for assistance in such matters. Their expert team of child custody attorneys can provide invaluable counsel during this pivotal time. And remember, the objective is always to secure the best possible future for your child.