The Process of Mediation With Child Custody Cases
One of the largest issues to be tackled in a divorce is child custody, which is something that can be difficult for each spouse to agree upon. In 2017, there were more than 825,000 divorces in the U.S., many of which involved such issues as child custody and child support. If you have children and you would like some help ironing out the details with your child custody arrangement, call one of our child custody attorneys today.
What Is the Mediation Process?
Mediation is a process that’s commonly used in uncontested divorces, which means that both spouses believe that they can reach a settlement without disagreement. This is a type of procedure wherein both spouses will discuss all of their current disputes and disagreements with a third-party mediator in an attempt to come to an agreement about these issues. The third party who acts as a mediator is meant to be wholly unaffiliated with either spouse.
While there is a wide range of cases that can go through mediation, child custody is a primary focus of many mediation procedures that occur with a divorce. The role of the mediator in this process is to handle discussions about the child custody while also coming up with solutions that can help resolve the primary dispute. Even though the mediator does not have the power to directly settle the disagreement themselves, they can help push the spouses toward having civil discussions.
How Does Mediation Work With Child Custody?
Mediation with child custody agreements works in much the same way as other forms of mediation. The parents of the child will have discussions with a third-party mediator as opposed to taking the case to court. Mediation can either be done with both parents in the same room or in separate rooms depending on preference. One of the most common ways in which mediation is used with child custody cases is when the parents or guardians are able to agree on most aspects of the child custody agreement but disagree on a couple of the particulars. The mediator will attempt to reach a middle ground with both parents on the smaller aspects of child custody. A successful mediation procedure is determined by whether or not the parents agree on every aspect of child custody. If they do not, the custody case will likely go to litigation.
Primary Benefits of Using Mediation
When you are considering using the mediation process for the child custody agreement between you and your spouse, there are a variety of benefits that can be derived from this process. For one, the mediator won’t be on any side, which means that the parents or guardians of the child are able to speak freely during the mediation. Mediation may also be able to help the parents of the child communicate more openly, which can be beneficial for the child’s future.
This process also does not involve expert witnesses in the same way as court cases do, which is one of the reasons as to why the process is usually a short one. Even though the decisions and agreements that are made in mediation aren’t typically legally binding, they are usually adhered to by a court. The various factors that will need to be agreed upon in a child custody plan include:
- The type of custody
- Living arrangements with the parents and the child
- A visitation schedule
- How the holidays will be spent
- Where the child will obtain education
- When and what types of vacations can be taken with each parent
After a plan has been created and signed by each parent, it usually goes through a short finalization process.
If you are filing for a divorce and you would like to know more about your legal options regarding child custody in Pennsylvania, call one of our child custody attorneys at our law office in Jenkintown today at (215) 886-1266 to set up a consultation.