A child custody mediation is a process through which two parties attempt to reach an accord over the legal arrangement that pertains to the parenting strategy of a child or children in the relationship after a divorce is finalized between those two parties.
Those parties are typically the parents or legal guardians of that child or children and this mediation is performed with the help of a third-party mediator who remains neutral throughout the proceedings and works to devise a parenting plan to which both parents are legally obligated to adhere.
Most mediations of this type are conducted in private or through a court order and a number of states mandate that both parties go through a mediation process of some kind prior to any custody hearings may be initiated before a judge.
As you may have guessed, a child custody mediation is only successful when both parties are willing to come to the table in good faith so they may reach a compromise for the parenting plan of the child or children that is mutually agreed upon. Although this is not always feasible, family law chester mediators are trained to work with both parents for the best interests of the child’s welfare.
Some of the points that are usually addressed in the mediation include the schedules for sharing time with the child or children, determinations over which parent has the child or children during which holidays, decisions on vacations, and any other pertinent factors that come into play specific to the relationship of the parents and their child or children.
If child custody mediation is something that might be of some benefit, your family lawyer may be able to suggest some mediators with whom they often work in order to have disputes settled between the parents. Taking this step can sometimes help to avoid going to court to rectify such matters, alleviating the stress and emotional difficulties that can impact a child, particularly younger ones.
But what does this all entail? Here are the basics of a standard child custody mediation process and what you should expect if you intend to enter into this type of arrangement:
Deciding On a Plan of Action
Considering whether or not to enter into a child custody mediation should be done for the child’s or children’s best interests. In some cases, both parents can be ordered to undergo this process by the court and certain states will demand that mediation occur prior to any court hearings, but if your case does not apply to either of these situations, you can attempt a mediation with your ex-husband or ex-wife.
Under any circumstances that don’t apply to court-mandated conditions, you are not bound by law to participate in a mediation process if you wish not to do so. For those parents who would attempt to enter into this process with an ex, it can be a very useful and beneficial step in easing the child or children through a divorce by making it as easy as possible for their life to remain stable.
Depending on the state in which you live and the local laws regarding these matters, mediation requests are sometimes handled through the courts. The initial request of one parent to another as well as the response from the second parent can be submitting in writing to the court.
For those mediations that are not handled directly by the court, it is still a good idea to make requests and responses in writing. This way, there is a definitive paper trail outlining the willingness, or lack thereof, on the part of each party towards their level of interest in being part of the mediation process. This paperwork can be useful should the case end up in court.
Participating in Mediation Proceedings
If you have been court-ordered to enter into a mediation with your ex, you are mandated to attend at least one session and be open-minded about the process. If you do not comply, you could be held in contempt of court and weaken your position in the judge’s view.
For those who have not been mandated to attend, doing so is entirely voluntarily. If you refuse to participate, it’s a good idea to state your reasons for refusal in writing.
But if you do wish to participate, be ready for sessions to last a few hours and come prepared with a list of issues that you would like to discuss. It’s a good idea to focus on matters that are now at dispute with you ex or you expect can become contentious matters in the future.