When spouses divorce or separate, custody matters are typically the most challenging to get resolved. Each of the parents love their children and want to be a part of their day to day lives, so it’s often challenging for them to come to a visitation and custody agreement. For a lot of parents, working alongside a knowledgeable family law mediator could help.
What Is Mediation?
A lot of divorcing couples utilize mediation to assist in settling their divorce-related matters, like spousal support, the division of property, and child(ren) custody. Through divorce mediation, spouses hire a unbiased 3rd party (the mediator) to assist them in discussing and resolving their disagreements. A lot of divorce mediators are knowledgeable family law attorneys, that have finished specialized mediation education. Different than a judge or an arbitrator, a mediator won’t make decisions, but instead helps couples come to their own agreements.
Steps in the Mediation Process
Even though child custody mediation is usually voluntary, in some many, parents are required to finish a mandatory mediation process prior to a judge will issuing any court orders. In all cases, the steps used in the mediation process are alike:
- speak with a mediator
- identify and classify the contested matters
- talk about solutions with a give and take outlook, and
- come to, create, and sign the custody agreement
The time you will spend in mediation is subject to several factors, comprising of the number and depth of the custody issues and the parents’ eagerness to come to an agreement.
Come to mediation prepared to listen and make some compromises. Custody mediation isn’t the place to debate older fights about what went badly in the relationship: The concentration should be on arriving at a good place for your children, and your custody plan needs to be tailored to meet the best interests your child (not yours). The way you walk away from mediation with an agreement depends largely on your capability to work alongside your ex and settle, when needed.
The mediator will meet with both parents (sometimes with their attorneys) and detail the ground rules, included rules about privacy. With some restricted exceptions, everything that’s said throughout mediation is supposed to be private and can’t not be used later at a later time, for instance, as evidence in a court. Don’t’ forget that the mediator isn’t a representative of either of you and can’t give legal advice. The only job the mediator has is to assist you in coming to a custody agreement you both approve of.
Identify and Organize the Matters
The mediator will assist you in establishing the child custody matters that need to be resolved in your case. These matters will typically be categorized by priority, like matters that need to be resolved straight away (school forms are due) and those that are more convoluted and could have a global impact for the family (one parent wants to introduce a romantic partner). Many times, it’s better to address the easy matters first, so that a couple of early successes at the start of the process may lead to better cooperation with the more challenging matters later.
It’s a good idea to have the custody matters divided into 5 layers:
- the routine custody and visitation plan
- the list of deviations that overrule the routine schedule like holidays and vacations
- how the parents communicate to one another about the children
- special matters, like religious education, medical care, after-school activities, and private schooling, and
- the way for modifying the custody agreement down the road.
The time spent on each layer is subject to your family’s situation. For mediation to work, both of you need to openly talk about what you believe is just and be up to listening to the other side. You should always be guided by what’s in your child’s best interests.
Develop and Sign the Custody Agreement
After you have resolved all your custody matters, the mediator will assist you in preparing the child custody agreement. Go over this document carefully—a legally mandatory document—to guarantee it correctly reflects your comprehending of the custody agreement. Your attorney should go over the agreement prior to you submitting it to the court for their approval.
Attempting to resolve child custody disputes can be overpowering and even distressing. You’ll have to think about schedules, locales, vacations, holidays and, in many cases, who the child prefers. However, if you both can come to an agreement in best interests of the child, with the assistance of a mediator, you can resolve your differences in a proper way and devoid of the stress and cost of a child custody struggle, and potentially a trial.
Speak With Our Child Custody Attorney In Scottsdale
Our child custody and guardianship attorney in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with concern and personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.
An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.