Divorce is a difficult, emotional process in which all parties involved suffer to some degree. It is often the children of divorce who, wanting their parents to stay together, are most affected by divorce proceedings, especially if the relationship between the parents is contentious.
Child custody laws differ from state to state, but most states offer mediation to divorcing parents as an alternative to the court deciding. Child custody mediation is a process in which parents work together to develop a plan for parenting their children after divorce with the help of a neutral 3rd party.
Mediation can be done privately, or parents can make use of court-connected mediation, a service which has grown rapidly over the past few years.
Child custody cases can be a long process, especially when child custody is tied up with the divorce. If both parents agree on most terms of child custody then mediation can be a cost- and time-effective method for resolving remaining issues. Another benefit of child custody mediation is that it encourages divorcing parents to focus on the welfare of their children during and after the divorce.
Other benefits of child custody mediation are:
- Mediation is a non-adversarial approach to discussion and problem solving. The process is usually less threatening allowing parties to discuss and agree to mutually beneficial strategies. Typically mediation is non-binding and nothing said or done in mediation is used as evidence if the divorce goes to trial. It is always best to confirm this with a child custody lawyer in your area.
- The mediator is a professional, neutral party, often a child custody lawyer, who is not invested in either side.
- Mediation can result in solution(s) more readily than a trial can. Mediation can be conducted in several weeks as opposed to the months and sometimes years that an entire trial process might take.
- Mediation sets the stage for relationships as they move forward after divorce. Studies show that children do much better if their divorced parents can cooperate and communicate.
- Mediation is usually less expensive than working through the courts. Rather than two attorneys, parents can hire one mediator who is often a child custody attorney well versed in custody law and able to help parents come to an agreement which can then be submitted to the
Child custody mediation focuses on the well-being of the children in a divorce situation and sets the tone for future communications.