Determining Child Custody and Visitation Through Mediation. No parent wants to have to fight for time with his or her children. In an ideal world, parents would see their children as often as possible and would never disagree about what is best for them. When parents do not live together, where the children should live and when they see each parent can become a contentious issue. Whether it is part of a divorce or the parents were never married, mediation may be the best way to create a consistent and beneficial parenting plan for the children.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is used to avoid going to court. The parties along with their legal counsel and a third-party mediator meet to discuss the issues and come to an agreement. An attorney is not required, but having a lawyer to counsel you on your rights reduces the risk of you agreeing to an unfair settlement.
The purpose of the mediator is to have an objective person who can help the parties come to a compromise. He or she facilitates communication and keeps the conversation focused on what matters.
Once the parties come to an agreement, the final decision is put into writing, and depending on the situation, submitted to court for approval. An agreement reached during mediation is not binding, but once it becomes a court order, it is.
Mediation and Divorce
Sometimes couples choose to use mediation for their divorce. Instead of arguing through attorneys and only meeting in court, mediation allows for spouses and their legal representatives to meet in a confidential and safe environment to discuss their options. It is often faster and cheaper than taking the entire process through the court system.
Mediation for Child Custody and Visitation
In some child custody proceedings in California, a judge will require parents to work with a mediator to decide on custody. This may be after the case is transferred to family conciliation court, if the country has established one, or while the case remains with the superior court.
A judge may feel it is important for parents to sit down and talk and come to a decision about what is best for their children before he or she has to step in a decide for them. Even if it is not required by a judge, parents may find it best to go to mediation to tackle child custody issues instead of trying to do it on their own.
A mediator helps parents focus on what is best for the children, how they can maximize time with their children, and how to move past issues of anger and resentment for the children. Continue reading →