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Child Custody: Litigation vs. Mediation

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What Is Child Custody Mediation?

Mediation is a non-antagonistic practice where a mediator meets with the parties to help them determine the best custody situation. The mediator does not have power to force a result on the parties, but can assist them in creating their own agreement.

Is Mediation a Better Option than Litigation?

Mediation may be favorable over litigation to resolve custody and visitation disagreements in the following ways: 

  • Less involvement by lawyers or expert witnesses, keeping costs lower.
  • Arrangements are usually made after five to ten hours of mediation.
  • Communication is enhanced between the parties, making cooperation in raising the children more likely after divorce or separation

Can Mediation Work Even If My Ex-Spouse and I Cannot Work Together?

Mediators are very skilled at getting combative parents to cooperate. Mediators are also skilled at getting the parents to recognize how cooperation is good for the children, and then move towards reaching an agreement.

What if There Is a History of Abuse?

If there is a history of abuse or the parents simply cannot stand each other, the mediator can act as a "messenger," conveying messages to parents in separate rooms until an agreement is reached. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Child Custody Mediation?

If you are looking to establish or modify a child custody or visitation arrangement, it would be wise to consult with a family lawyer.  An experienced lawyer knowledgeable in child custody matters has experience dealing with the court system and mediators alike, and can work to protect your relationship with the child.

Photo of page author Matthew Izzi

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 05-03-2018 08:43 PM PDT

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