The Role of Divorce Mediation in Child Custody Agreements
When parents divorce or separate, custody can be a hot button issue, and mediation can protect the interests of both the parents and child. To say the least, negotiating the custody agreement is often a difficult experience for all involved, especially the children. Generally, it is optimal for parents to reach an agreement outside the courtroom in a less contentious environment.
Mediation & Problem Solving When Child Custody is Contested
When you cannot reach an agreement on custody or visitation, California Family Code Section 3160 et seq. requires the parties attempt mediation before taking the matter to court. Mediation is also required when a stepparent or grandparent seeks a visitation order. Those unfamiliar with mediation may consider the process a formality or a last-ditch effort. However, mediation can be a powerful tool if proactively and properly utilized.
Divorce Mediation Offers Greater Control of and Options for Child Custody Agreements
Given the uncertainties inherent in litigation, mediation can offer you more control over the process and an opportunity to create a system that best serves your child’s interests. In the courtroom, parties have limited time to convey their capability and willingness to cooperate. In mediation, parents can communicate either face to face or through the mediator.
Focus First on Your Child’s Interest When Discussing Custody in Divorce Mediation
Together, you can focus on problem solving for the sake of your most cherished investment, your child. Mediation can give you greater control over the time, money, and effort spent on reaching an agreement. In mediation, you can look for common ground. Divorce mediation can establish a neutral environment and enhance communication, helping you set aside the competing emotional and financial distractions common in divorce.
Child Participation in Mediation Can Inform Parents on How to Craft Better Custody Agreements
The versatility of mediation can enhance the dialogue and open up a world of possible solutions. In some situations subject to your permission, the mediator might speak directly with your child, giving your child an opportunity to feel involved and be heard. Allowing your child to speak openly with the mediator, you can potentially gain valuable insight on your child’s needs and concerns.
Confidentiality of Divorce Mediation Opens Up Dialogue and Potential Solutions in Child Custody Cases
Mediation is confidential and nothing said or made for the purpose of mediation is admissible in court. As such, you and your spouse may be more open to communicating a better picture of what you want and can do. This sharing of information can help you find new solutions to old problems.
Divorce Mediation Affords Parents Valuable Resource When Negotiating Child Custody Agreements
In the end, mediation can be so much more than a last-ditch effort. When parents proactively approach mediation, they can cooperatively design custody agreements that work toward the best interest of their kids. The process can help each parent achieve a situation that better addresses the emotional and financial needs their children will have in years to come.
Consult a Mediator Before Deciding Whether Mediation Is Right for Your Child Custody Arrangement
The decision to mediate can depend on the circumstances of a divorce. Since every situation is different, it is important for the you to consult a mediator directly before deciding whether mediation is right for you.
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