Mediation is defined as alternative dispute resolution. What does that mean, and how does mediation help develop child custody agreements? Mediation is private, less formal than court, and costs less than traditional court proceedings. It is also more flexible than a court’s schedule can be. To avoid exploiting that flexibility, child custody mediation should be easily accessible by all parties. If the parties are in Orange County, the mediation should take place there too.
Consensus in Child Custody Mediation
For the mediation process to work, parents must work together with the aid of an objective third party. Together, they need to create a parenting plan, or custody and visitation agreement that both sides can live with. Families are more likely to follow a plan they worked out with a mediator’s guidance than a court ordered agreement.
Putting the Needs of the Child First
In mediation the dominant goal is to decide what custody arrangement answer the needs of the child. Those needs come before everyone else in the negotiation. The mediator will guide the conversation so each parent can air their own concerns about the custody agreement. Every child is different, in age, closeness with one or the other parent and in special provision requirements. Even things like sport participation can be explored. Child custody mediation helps parents work together for the wellbeing of the child or children.
Working Through Complicated Questions
Custody decisions can be complex. Parents may disagree on who will make medical, religious and other decisions for the child. If they do, it can take several sessions to work through their differences.
Legal custody is not just about where the child will live, but who will make those important decisions for the child. Mediation guides the parents’ through their disputes toward a solid custody agreement. Some parents have different religious views, others disagree on medical decisions, like vaccinations and alternative care. It is important to outline how all parties will address these issues moving forward.
Having a third party present has a calming influence on potentially emotional discussions. In spite of that, if spouses can’t even be in the same room together, mediation can accommodate that. The mediator can meet with the spouses separately, going between the parties until an agreement is worked out. Having a professional mediator like attorneys Steven Hittelman and Wayne Jones keeps everyone’s focus on meeting the child’s needs.
Flexible Scheduling with Speedier Results
When scheduling conflicts arise, the informality of mediation allows for smoother rescheduling and the costs stay lower. A Courtroom has specific hours available, with more parties to notify when someone has an emergency. Regardless of the schedule flexibility, mediation tends to be a much faster process than a court proceeding.
Honest Discussion From Private Child Custody Mediation
The privacy of mediation is essential to reach an honest, livable agreement. What spouses say in mediation will not be used as evidence in divorce court. As a result, parties are more likely to speak more freely than they would in court. Since there are some exceptions to privacy protection, check with your attorney to be aware of them in your case.
Mediation Costs Less
The cost of mediation is significantly lower than the court cost of divorce or child custody. Instead of each spouse paying for a separate attorney to represent them, parents can work with one professional mediator.
More separating parents are discovering, through mediation, they can develop their own child custody agreement. Steven Hittelman and Wayne L. Jones are well-known successful child custody mediators as well as attorneys. They excel at helping families address complex issues in the best interests of their children. For more information contact the Hittelman Family Law Group us here or call (949) 210-3260.
This article is not intended to be construed as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only, offering insights and awareness into the complex nature of Child Custody Agreements. Speaking with an experienced family law attorney is an advisable way to make sure your rights are safeguarded.