Mediation may be the key to solving a dispute involving child custody or visitation. These frequently asked questions introduce you to the process.
I've heard that mediation is the best approach to solving disagreements about child custody. Is this true?
Mediation is a non-adversarial process where a neutral person (a mediator) meets with disputing persons to help them settle a dispute. The mediator does not have power to impose a solution on the parties, but assists them in creating an agreement of their own. (In Alaska, California, Delaware, Michigan, New Mexico and South Dakota, however, the mediator may be asked by the court to make a recommendation if the parties cannot reach an agreement.)
There are several important reasons why mediation is a superior method to litigation for resolving custody and visitatio522249183
How to find a family law mediator
Several states require mediation in custody and visitation disputes and a number of others allow courts to order mediation. In these situations, the court will direct the parents to the mediator and will pay for the services. Parents can also find and pay for the mediator themselves. With increasing frequency, family law attorneys are offering mediation services for child custody and other divorce-related disputes, as are a number of non-lawyer community mediators. Two resources for finding a family law mediator in your area are:
Academy of Family Mediators
Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR)
Things are so bitter between my ex and me that it's hard to see us sitting down together to work things out. How can mediation possibly work?
Mediators are very skilled at getting parents who are bitter enemies to cooperate for the sake of their children. The more parents can agree on the details of separate parenting, the better it will be for them and their children. And mediators are skilled at getting the parents to recognize this fact and then move forward towards negotiating a sensible parenting agreement. If there is a history of abuse or the parents initially cannot stand to be in the same room with each other, the mediator can meet with each parent separately and ferry messages back and forth until agreement on at least some issues is reached. At this point, the parties may be willing to meet face-to-face.(back to top)