North Carolina Child Custody Mediation Checklist

If you’re attending a child custody mediation, having a checklist can make the session more productive. You need a custody agreement that is in the best interests of the children. It must be accurate and specific to the circumstances.

Having a North Carolina child custody mediation checklist helps you arrive at mediation prepared and with the tools you need for your case.

Have questions about child custody mediation? Speak to a divorce lawyer in Charlotte at Remington & Dixon today.

Our North Carolina Child Custody Mediation Checklist

Things to discuss during mediation

  • Legal custody: Whether both parents will share in making major decisions for the children. Legal custody includes things like school, religion and medical decisions. Usually, both parents share legal custody unless there is a reason that a parent should have sole decision-making authority.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody is the daily care of the children and with whom they stay on what days. For purposes of child support, North Carolina considers a parent with 123 or more overnights a physical custodian. When parents have joint custody, there is a different worksheet used for child support calculations – so know that whether each parent has 123 or more overnights may significantly impact child support obligations.
  • Custody/Visitation schedule: In child custody mediation, you create a schedule for what parent has physical custody of the children and when. The schedule may depend on the ages of the children, your work schedules, your circumstances and your preferences. You may consider weekly exchanges for older children, certain days of the week and alternating weekends or after-school and evening visits.
  • Holidays: Holidays usually follow a separate schedule. You should think about what holidays you want to include. For example, you may include the children’s birthdays, your birthdays and religious observances, alternating every other year or exchanging in the middle of the day.
  • Summer and school breaks: You may want a different schedule for summer and school breaks. A summer schedule can make time for special activities and family travel.
  • Special needs: If a child has special needs, you may need to address them in your order.
  • Communication: Depending on your relationship with the other parent, it may be appropriate to keep communication open-ended or specify how you will communicate. There are software programs that may help you communicate safely and effectively.
  • Method of exchange: Usually, the parent starting their physical custody period picks up the children, but you may want to do something different. In long-distance situations, you may address airline tickets and whether children will have a parent fly with them or unaccompanied minor assistance when they travel. You may specify a certain exchange point like a restaurant parking lot or police station.
  • Right of first refusal: Some parents choose to put a right of first refusal into their child custody agreement. That means if a parent is unable to provide care for the child for an extended period or overnight, they must ask the other parent before having someone else provide childcare.
  • Excluding parties from childcare: There may be reasons that a certain person, like a family member with a troubled past, should be excluded from providing childcare or transportation for a child.
  • New romantic partners: Your custody order may state when a parent can have a romantic partner spend the night with children in the home, or when a new romantic partner can interact with the children.
  • Temporary modifications: An order may state how you’ll modify parenting time temporarily by agreement. For example, you may agree by exchanging text messages confirming the change. You may specify changes for things like weddings or funerals for close family members.
  • Extracurricular activities: You may designate how extracurricular activities are approved, and if a parent must take a child to an activity on their parenting time, even if they didn’t agree to the activity.
  • Supervision and testing: If a parent has safety concerns, parenting time may need to be supervised, or a parent may require drug testing before exercising time.
  • Other issues and concerns: A mediated agreement can be flexible for your circumstances, the child’s needs and your wishes.

Things to bring to a mediation session

  • Schedule: Your ideas for a schedule, including a daily schedule and special schedules for school breaks and holidays.
  • List of things to discuss: By writing things down, you make sure that you don’t miss important things to include.
  • Information: Bring any information you may need to reference, like a child’s school schedule, extracurricular schedule, parent work schedules or information relating to a parental fitness concern. There’s nothing to prove at a child custody mediation, but it may still be helpful to have information nearby.

Things to know before mediation

  • You don’t have to reach an agreement during child custody mediation. Participation is required – reaching an agreement is not required.
  • In North Carolina, you can’t have an attorney present at the mediation facilitated by the court. Work with your attorney to prepare before your mediation.
  • When you approach mediation, you should know your absolutes, and where you can be flexible.

This North Carolina child support mediation checklist is presented by Remington & Dixon, PLLC. To talk to a Charlotte divorce lawyer and get legal help, call 704-247-7110 or use our convenient online form to schedule a consultation.


Are consultations free?

While we offer a free consultation on traffic matters, criminal matters, and most professional license defense cases, we charge a fee for family law consultations to personalize our consultations to your specific needs. To learn about our fee structure, please get in touch.

Where can I get legal advice?

We recommend meeting with an attorney. While there is free legal help available for North Carolina residents from pro bono resources for civil matters, and public defenders for criminal cases, the best way to access tailored advice is to hire a lawyer.

Can I hire you if I’m in another state?

This is done on a case by case basis if you are involved in a family law, criminal, or professional disciplinary matter that involves another jurisdiction.



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