Child custody mediation is a method of dispute resolution that has many benefits. It can help a divorcing couple reach an agreement on custody issues without the pain and expense of going to court.
Going through a divorce is an inherently painful process that is even more challenging when children are involved. When a couple fights over child custody issues, the pain and stress are intensified for all involved.
How Child Custody Mediation Works
Child custody mediation is a method of dispute resolution that has many benefits. Mediation is designed to help divorcing or unmarried parents reach an agreement on physical and legal custody issues with the pain and expense of going to court. This process utilizes a third party, a mediator, to help two parties agree on matters relating to divorce, child custody, and other legal issues.
The mediator is a guide who helps navigate the couple through the maze of child custody issues on which they disagree. Mediation allows the parties involved to focus on the underlying circumstances rather than narrow legal issues. Therefore, it’s necessary that the mediation is organized and follows specific steps.
The 5 steps of mediation include:
- Introductory session– All parties will meet together. The mediator will introduce himself, explain their role, and ensure he is a neutral party whose objective is to help both parties reach a fair and just resolution. The mediator will then give a general statement concerning what he sees as the issues, outline the process, and discuss protocol.
- Note the issues – Following the introduction, the mediator will allow each party to explain the problems and tell their side of the story. It’s vital that the party not speaking remain silent. It is, after all, the point of choosing mediation so that the parties can reach a suitable agreement. When parties begin bickering or arguing, the basis of mediation is lost.
- Gathering information – The mediator will request a form detailing the evidence, facts, and other pertinent information that may help the mediator reach a conclusion. The mediator will then ask questions to understand further the fiscal and emotional reasons behind the parties’ decisions.
- Framing stage – The mediator will discuss what he discerns is the heart of the matter and help the couple explore all options and find innovative ways to resolve their differences. Some couples conduct the framing stage in separate sessions to better prepare for the next step – negotiation.
- Negotiation – Once the issues have been determined, the negotiating process can start. The mediator has several options, but he might put together a proposed settlement and let the parties amend it until they come to a practical solution. Or the mediator will meet with each party individually to decide on negotiations. The meetings are confidential and provide an atmosphere, away from the other party, to think about things and freely discuss emotions and fears.
Benefits of Child Custody Mediation
When mediation is suitable for your situation, there are many benefits to choosing this forum. Settling disputes through mediation saves money and time and generally causes less pain and stress for all involved. This is especially true when used to resolve child custody issues. Children fair better when their parents can resolve the situation peaceably.
Contact The Betz Law Firm
If you need assistance learning more about the benefits of mediation or how the process works, contact The Betz Law Firm. Mediation is appropriate at any stage of a dispute and doesn’t require an underlying legal case. However, when utilized early in a dispute, mediation can help ease conflict and keeps costs from escalating.
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