Child custody is an essential part of different court cases, including divorces involving children, the separation of unmarried parents, paternity cases, modifications of orders, and other proceedings. In Nebraska, courts prefer parents to create their own parenting plan outside of court, and they may require parents to do so. Parenting plan mediation is beneficial for many families, and it can be easier with a compassionate Lincoln child custody attorney mediating your discussion.

A parenting plan outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent for custody arrangements, including legal and physical custody. Mediation allows parents to tailor these arrangements to their family’s needs. It occurs when one mediating professional works with parents separately or together to outline the ideal parenting plan.

Understanding Mediation

Mediation, in its most common form, occurs when both parties meet to discuss an agreement, and a third-party mediator helps them navigate this. A mediator doesn’t make decisions for the parties but offers potential solutions, informs parties of relevant information, and helps the negotiations remain on track.

Mediation is useful for child custody agreements because even when parents agree on how custody arrangements will be assigned, many specific details have to be determined. Mediation allows parents to achieve this.

Tips for Preparing for Custody Mediation

Although mediation aims to be less stressful than a court battle, it can still feel overwhelming. Preparing ahead of a mediation session can help you feel more at ease and make the process more successful.

  1. Determine your goals and priorities for mediation. Both parents wish to protect the interests and well-being of their children. This may or may not mean parents have the same goals. Determine what you want to achieve in mediation to protect your children’s interests, such as specific custody arrangements or improved communication with your co-parent. By creating a list of your goals and what you wish to discuss, this can help keep negotiations on track.
  2. Draft a potential plan. Creating a potential parenting plan can be a great beginning for discussions and negotiations about specific issues. It can help you and your co-parent determine your wishes for travel, communication, holidays, and other important specific aspects of a parenting plan.
  3. Gather relevant documentation. Important documents include divorce and separation court orders, protective orders, and your child’s school and healthcare documents. This can help a mediator understand your family’s unique situation.
  4. Talk with an attorney about your legal rights. If you aren’t sure about your legal and parental rights during mediation, talk with an attorney prior to mediation.
  5. Remain flexible. In order for mediation to be successful, both parties must be willing to communicate and compromise. Be willing to discuss these sometimes sensitive topics with your co-parent and remain focused on the well-being and interests of your children.

The Benefits of Mediating a Child Custody Agreement

There are several benefits to mediating your child custody agreement rather than litigating it. These include:

  • It helps parents create a strong foundation for their co-parenting arrangement.
  • Parents have more control over the specifics of a parenting plan rather than it being up to the discretion of the court.
  • Parents are allowed more flexibility for a schedule that fits their unique needs.
  • It allows co-parents to collaborate rather than work against each other.
  • The process is less stressful than court, which can benefit parents and subsequently benefit their children.
  • It is less expensive than court.
  • Mediation can be resolved more efficiently than litigation.

Avoiding the courtroom is often the goal of parents looking out for their children’s interests, as the court process can be hard on the entire family.


Q: At What Age Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live with in Nebraska?

A: In Nebraska, there is no age at which a child can decide where they want to live unless they are 18 or emancipated. Before that age, a child can express their preference in a child custody determination. However, the court is not required to listen to this preference. The child’s preference may be one factor, but the court will consider many factors in deciding what is in the child’s interests. The court is likely to listen more to a child who is older and has a more reasoned opinion.

Q: What Is the Nebraska Parenting Act?

A: The Nebraska Parenting Act requires that parents who are in any child-related court proceedings are aware of their responsibilities to:

  1. Create a parenting plan together, through mediation, or with attorneys
  2. Attend a required parental education class and file a certificate of attendance with the court
  3. Attend a potentially required mediation session to create a parenting plan

Child-related court proceedings include custody, visitation, or parenting time determinations in divorce, legal separation, modification of an order, or paternity action.

Q: What Type of Custody Is the Most Common in Nebraska?

A: Family courts in Nebraska tend to prefer joint legal custody, allowing both parents to make important decisions for their children. The court also prefers joint physical custody or sole physical custody with generous visitation rights, allowing both parents as much time with their children as possible.

Although 50/50 custody is ideal, it is not always practical due to distance, schedules, and travel needs. If parents create their own parenting plan, the court will typically approve it as long as it is in the child’s interests.

Q: How Does Parental Mediation Work?

A: Parental mediation in Nebraska allows parents to create a parenting plan outside of court. A mediator talks with each parent separately to determine what the family’s needs are, the wishes of each parent, and the basic terms that must be negotiated. The mediator takes this information, as well as information from negotiations and compromises between parents, to create a written parenting plan, which is then submitted to the court.

Protecting Your Family’s Interests in Lincoln

If you are approaching a child custody determination, it is important to have dedicated legal support. An attorney can advise you prior to mediation or be present and guide you through the process. An attorney knows how to protect the interests of you and your child. When you’re in need of a knowledgeable child support lawyer and legal mediator, contact Stange Law Firm.