Mediation can be a helpful tool for many disputes, but one of the most frequently mediated issues in Utah is that of custody. Custody can be a difficult matter for parents to discuss, primarily because children are so important. Instead of preparing for mediation by digging your heels into the ground, consider following these tips to move toward a resolution.

Put Away The Dirty Laundry

Your mediator doesn’t need to hear every detail about what makes you not like your ex. Turning your mediation into a bashing session is a waste of everyone’s time and money. Both of you have your flaws, but it’s neither the time nor the place to hang your dirty laundry out to air.

You may think that by making your ex look like a bad person you are gaining the mediators sympathy; however, the mediator may view it as unwillingness to work toward a solution. However, if something about the opposing party may affect your child’s well being, or your feelings on custody, those items should be frankly discussed with the mediator.

Children Should Be The Focus

Fighting for custody shouldn’t be a way of getting back at your spouse. It also shouldn’t be used as a way to swing financial support in your favor. If there is not a concern for the safety and well-being of your child, you should encourage a relationship between your child and your ex. It can be helpful to put yourself in your child’s shoes. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would I want to hear my parents talk badly about one another?
  • Would I want to grow up without a relationship with one of my parents?
  • Would I want to be used to get back at one of my parents?

The bottom line is that while you and your ex have gone separate ways, you have a child in common which doesn’t allow you to simply cut your ex out of your life.

You may have negative feelings about your ex, but it doesn’t mean you have to project those onto your children. By doing so, you do far more harm than you know. If you sit back and really consider your motives, you may find they are selfish and stemming from your own feelings of hatred and resentment.

Be Cautious In Your Proposals

It can be tempting to make your ex jump through hoops in order to have their parent time, but be cautious. Things such as specific pick up locations, drug tests, communication parameters, etc., can come back to haunt you later on. While these conditions may be beneficial if a specific concern is driving the terms, if you implement additional steps just to annoy or inconvenience your ex, it may hurt more than it helps.

In most cases, the terms will apply to both parties, so be sure you are willing to jump through the same hoops. In the end, you should focus on working toward what will cultivate the most healthy and positive environment for you and your child. If you want restrictive conditions in place, discuss with your attorney to get their thoughts.

Mediation can be a helpful tool in settling disputes such as custody if you are prepared and attend with an open mind. At Burton Law, our attorneys have attended countless mediations. We have the knowledge and compassion to assist you with all of your custody needs. Contact us today to set up a consultation.


Ken is the founder of Burton Attorneys at Law and finds the challenge of practicing law extremely rewarding. Although Ken has a broad assortment of experience ranging from bankruptcy to civil litigation to criminal law, Ken’s practice is tailored almost exclusively to the area of family law.

He chose to practice in the family law arena because of the positive and direct impact for good he saw in the lives of his clients.

Having twice been named one of Utah’s Legal Elite by Utah Business Magazine, Ken has a solid reputation as an effective advocate for his clients. He is actively involved in local and state bar associations, serves on various boards of directors and with volunteer organizations, and as a mentor for newly admitted attorneys.

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