Child Custody Mediation Lawyers
In any dispute over child custody, emotions are likely to run high. However, both parents should remember that they are fighting for their child’s best interests. If the dispute goes to court, a judge will have to work out a plan that he or she believes is in the best interests of the child. It is entirely possible that whatever arrangement the judge imposes will not be satisfactory to either parent.
With this in mind, it is always a good idea (and sometimes required by law) to go into mediation first, with a court battle being the last resort.
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (resolving a conflict without going to court) in which a neutral third party (the mediator) helps the parties in the dispute reach an agreement. The mediator does not actually decide the case. Rather, they act as a go-between for the parties, and try to keep negotiations on track. In mediation, it is the parents who have the final say in what agreement, if any, is reached. Therefore, the likelihood of reaching an agreement that protects the interests of the child, and is satisfactory to both parents, is probably higher than in litigation.
Going into mediation, there are some guidelines that you should follow, to help the process go smoothly. You should go in prepared to treat the other parent with respect. You will both get a chance to voice your opinion.
You should be prepared to make some concessions. Any negotiation involves give and take, and you should not expect to get everything you want. It might help to make a list of certain concessions you are willing to make beforehand, and the areas in which you are not willing to concede. If both parties are honest and clear about their desires, it will be much easier to reach an agreement that satisfies both.
You should also go in with a desire to protect the interests of your child. In a divorce, it may be tempting to try to “stick it to” the other spouse, by taking as much as possible. In any negotiation, such an approach will be counterproductive, and it is not in the child’s best interests. Any feelings of personal animosity should be left at the door.
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Last Modified: 02-15-2012 02:40 PM PST
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