Child custody disputes can be emotionally and mentally draining for all parties involved. each party may feel they can not give an inch or the other party will “win.” But with the help of mediation, finding a solution can become a less stressful process. Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution, provides a chance for parents to create a custody agreement that is built on some compromise and common sense and not on anger and revenge. A good custody agreement works within reason for both parents as well as the children. It requires both parents to give up some control and to find a way to be cordial for the sake of the future of their child who should have a good relationship with both parents.
Let us explore how mediation can be a beneficial tool in resolving child custody disputes and how it can help parents create a peaceful co-parenting relationship.
What is Mediation?
In mediation, a neutral third party called the mediator helps to facilitate communication and negotiation between parents. The mediator encourages parents to work together to agree on a parenting plan that includes elements such as legal and physical custody, visitation schedules, and decision-making responsibilities.
Benefits of Child Custody Mediation
One of the biggest advantages of mediation for child custody disputes is that it allows parents to maintain control over the outcome of the negotiation. What we mean is that parents have a say, negotiating the various parts of their plan instead of giving it to the court to decide. Often times the court’s decision will not make either parent happy.
Mediation can help to reduce the stress and emotional toll of custody battles by providing an environment in which parents work with a neutral and experienced person trained to resolve common issues in child custody disputes. Through effective communication, negotiation, and compromise in a relatively emotionless way, the mediation process can help parents reach solutions. Issues such as visitation schedules, picking up and dropping off the children, holidays, education and healthcare can all be addressed.
Mediation fosters a spirit of cooperation and collaboration between parents, which can benefit their ongoing relationship and the well-being of their children in the long term. It can be a more efficient solution than going through the courts, as it can be completed in a timely and efficient way without the need for lengthy legal proceedings.
Finally mediation cost significantly less that going to court. Fighting in court costs money, money to pay your lawyers to prepare and then spend a day or two in court.
Is Mediation Mandatory?
Mediation is not always mandatory, but many states do now require parents to attend mediation before proceeding to court. The state of California is a state that requires parents to attend mediation for child custody cases. The court’s docket is often very busy and the more folks can avoid taking up the court’s time to resolve disputes over issues of child custody, the better.
Mediation can be helpful in avoiding long, cantankerous, and petty court battles. Such court cases are costly and further alienate quarrelsome parents. The sooner couples come up with a plan, the less traumatic for children and the sooner everyone can get used to the new situation. Children thrive on consistent and dependable routines.
What Happens if You Can’t Agree During Mediation?
It would be unusual if an agreement cannot be made during mediation but it can happen. The mediator plays a crucial role in helping the parties find common ground and working with stubborn individuals. If it becomes evident that agreement is not possible, then paperwork will be filed in the case, showing mediation was completed as required but no agreement was reached.
Now the case moves to court, and you will need to get your checkbook or credit card out as going to court will cost in the thousands. During court, both sides will present what they would like and the judge will decide how the child custody arrangement will be. Oftentimes the judge will ask both parties to submit their ideal plan and the judge will choose one or use parts of each to come up with the court’s order on child custody. Once the court rules, this will be the plan and requesting a change to that plan will not likely be entertained for at least a year.
Consult With an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer
If you find yourself in the midst of a child custody case, you do not have to face it alone. Seeking the help and guidance of a child custody lawyer can be very beneficial for you and your children. Bradley Bayan is an experienced attorney that can help you navigate through mediation and provide you with valuable information to help you find a way to compromise where necessary.
If you have questions about child custody or you need legal representation, then don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Bradley Bayan. Our professional team is knowledgeable in family law and has a track record of success in child custody cases. Contact the Law Offices of Bradley Bayan at (650) 364-3600 to schedule a free consultation.