The first in a series of presidential debates will have just taken place when the blog posts. We do not know how each party fared in the first debate, but there is one thing we can be sure of; the last several weeks were spent preparing the candidates for the debate. Whether it is reviewing materials, fielding test questions, or preparing to respond to attacks from the other side, you can be sure each candidate is working tirelessly with experts in the debate process to ensure they make a good impression. So what does this have to do with Family Court Services (often called “FCS”)? The answer is everything.
As we have discussed many times, before a court can make a ruling on child custody and visitation, the parties must participate in custody mediation with FCS. At the mediation, FCS will attempt to get the parties to come to an agreement about what the visitation schedule will look like for the children. If they are unable to come to an agreement, the mediator will issue a recommendation for the Judge. As you can imagine, these recommendations are given a lot of deference.
So just like the candidates getting ready for their debate, you also must get prepared for FCS mediation. There are two main ways you can prepare for mediation. The first is by meeting with your attorney to discuss the process. The advantage here is your attorney can assist in preparing you for mediation in a way that best suits the legal aspects of your case. You will want to discuss your expectations, what type of schedule you would like, and the reasons you believe that schedule is in your best interest.
The attorneys with the Law Offices of Nancy J. Bickford have read countless FCS mediation reports, so we are very qualified to prepare a party for custody mediation. However we are not therapists or custody mediators, so we have never been part of the mediation process. Until you are actually part of the custody mediation process (lawyers are not allowed to attend by law) you really do not have first-hand experience.
In order to get first-hand experience, you need to meet with a custody mediation preparation expert. Just as the presidential candidates want experts to help them prepare for the debate, so too should you meet with an expert to get prepared. This is the second way to get prepared for custody mediation.
The experts we use are either currently serving as private child custody mediators, or previously worked for Family Court Services so they understand the process. Some of our experts do nothing but mediation preparation. These exerts will assist you in preparing the necessary paperwork, they will help to develop a visitation schedule and then work with you so you can explain clearly and confidently why you believe the schedule is in the best interest of the children. They will analyze your case to determine what issues the mediator may focus on and then prepare you for addressing the topics. You have a limited amount of time in mediation, so being focused and direct will give you an advantage over the unprepared party. Most importantly, the experts will make sure you are comfortable and confident the moment you walk into the mediation.
We have mentioned it many times before, but so much about custody litigation is perception. That is why it is so important to make a good impression at Family Court Services. Working with an experienced family law attorney can be very beneficial, but for the best results, there is nothing better than meeting with an expert to get prepared.
Feel free to contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding child custody mediation and preparation. Nancy J. Bickford is the only Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) in San Diego County who is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.