Child custody disputes can be drawn-out and exhausting experiences and can be expensive to litigate. In addition to being costly financially, the adversarial nature creates animosity between parents that can have long-term consequences. The good news is that it does not have to be this way.
Many parents are turning to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods to help them resolve issues surrounding child custody and parenting time. A popular method of ADR, mediation involves the parents working with a trained mediator whose goal is to help the couple negotiate a plan for parenting their children.
These negotiations tend to be less adversarial than litigation and may facilitate an early custody agreement.
Benefits of child custody mediation
Child custody mediation helps reduce stress and conflict and keeps parents focused on the best interests of the children. Additional benefits of child custody mediation include:
- Children. Because parents work amicably to find a resolution, they can avoid bitter fighting that can ultimately hurt the children.
- Privacy. Mediation is based on the understanding that anything said during mediation is privileged and cannot be used if the case does go to court.
- Control. Mediation encourages parents to work collaboratively to find a mutual agreement. They get to make decisions about what is best for their children instead of a judge who does not know the family.
- Financial. The cost of mediation can be significantly less costly than attorney’s fees for litigation. Because mediation can offer solutions more quickly, it is less expensive than seeing a case through a trial.
- Non-adversarial. Mediation encourages open lines of communication and respectful conversations. This allows parents to reach a compromise that works for both parents and the children.
Child-related issues can be challenging to resolve. Child custody mediation can help parents agree upon issues involved with raising children and help foster a peaceful post-divorce relationship.