Child custody mediation involves a process where both parents work together to resolve a custody dispute involving their child or children. The child custody mediation process often involves a third party who acts as a mediator between both parents. The mediator is a neutral party, meaning they can help both parties resolve the child custody dispute without biases originating from either side. The goal of child custody mediation is resolving a custody dispute without having the case escalate to a court. Many parents involved in child custody disputes now seek child custody mediation as an alternative to using the court system to resolve the dispute. The mediation process not only helps both parties avoid legal fees, but it also protects the children from the stress of the legal process.
How child custody mediation works
The child custody mediation process is relatively straightforward. It is usually a series of informal negotiations arranged by both parents with or without their lawyers and a neutral third party, a mediator. Not all child custody mediation sessions use lawyers; sometimes, both parents are able to work out a solution with only a mediator in attendance. Most child custody mediation sessions end with both parties coming to an agreement about their child custody agreements, eliminating the need to pursue the courts for the negotiation process.
A mediation session to decide child custody arrangements is especially helpful in the case of a divorce. Divorcing couples with underage children often face custody disputes alongside the actual divorce case, so bringing in a mediator to resolve the custody arrangements may eliminate the stress of deciding child custody during an ongoing divorce.
Why use child custody mediation
Child custody mediation works for various reasons, especially in especially tense divorce cases. It is a nonaggressive approach to resolving child custody issues. It also does not force either party to make permanent decisions during the negotiating process. Both parents are given the chance to come to agreeable terms without the stress of being forced into a potentially binding situation.
Another advantage of child custody mediation is both parties do not have to worry about their actions or words being used against them in court. It is a truly neutral session conducted by a third party who is only there to help both parties come to an agreement. After an agreement is reached, both parties are able to submit their terms to the courts for approval, essentially finalizing the custody agreement.
The usual child custody mediation also takes less time than a legal battle over child custody. Most mediation sessions last for just a few weeks or less. It also costs less than going through the court system to resolve child custody. Both parties usually do not need to pay more than the cost of booking the mediator to work with them.
The child custody mediation process also plays a role in helping keep both parties civil. If either parent does not want to interact with each other, the mediator can meet both parents in separate sessions to discuss potential terms of their child custody agreement. The mediator generally works with both parties, going back and forth, until an agreement to submit to the courts is achieved.