When you are trying to make decisions about child custody, reaching an agreement with your ex through mediation could be an alternative to the traditional litigation in court. When you are working with a mediator, you and the other parent of your child will be able to negotiate the child custody agreement terms in a way that best suits the needs of your child and both of your lifestyles. However, if you don’t know what to expect from this process, it can feel a little daunting at first.
If you are going to work on your child custody issues using mediation, it’s important to learn what you can expect from this process and how you can make the most of it.
How Mediation Will Work
Using mediation, you and the child’s other parent can negotiate your child custody agreement with the help of a third-party mediator. This person is unbiased and neutral, meaning that they don’t have any connection to your and your family and therefore won’t favor one parent over the other.
Your mediator can help you settle disagreements, offer possible resolutions to some of the roadblocks you may be dealing with and let each parent know about any child custody laws that could apply in their case. Since the mediator has no investment in either side, they can help you and your co-parent reach an agreement that is fair and based on what will work best in the situation overall.
A mediator cannot offer legal advice, which is why each party can still have their own child custody law firm in Lynnwood to help them navigate legal concerns and questions throughout the mediation process.
Unlike going to court and having the judge decide, mediation allows you and your co-parent to keep trying until both of you are satisfied with the agreement. In traditional court, the judge could make a decision that neither you nor your co-parent agrees with, which takes a lot of the control away from both of you.
The ultimate goal of mediation is to help foster a useful discussion during which you and your co-parent are able to make the arrangements necessary for custody together. In mediation, contention is never encouraged. Instead, this process focuses on having productive, peaceful negotiations that will benefit everyone taking an active part.
The Benefits of Mediation
Mediation can help in a variety of family law areas, including child custody, visitation, child and spousal support modifications and divorce. Using mediation for your child custody case can be a great help because it can allow you and your co-parent to work as a team and find a solution that works for you and what is going to be best for your child.
Some benefits of child custody mediation include:
- Faster than going through litigation in court
- Usually less expensive than going through court litigation
- Encourages a feeling of cooperation rather than contention
- A more private experience than litigation
- Gives you control over the final parenting plan
- Allows you and your co-parent to find personalized, creative solutions
Make the Most out of the Mediation Process
If you and your co-parent decide to try mediation for your child custody issues, remember to make the most of the situation. Going into mediation with an open mind and a willingness to cooperate is usually necessary for a successful outcome. If mediation doesn’t work, you and your co-parent may find yourself in court, with a judge deciding these very important issues for you. In that scenario, it’s very possible you will not be comfortable with or satisfied by the outcome.
Have your own attorney to assist you during the mediation process. An experienced attorney will be able to let you know what your legal rights are and protect your interests should your co-parent become manipulative or argumentative. Also, if your co-parent has an attorney, being the only person without legal representation may put you at a real disadvantage. Keep in mind that even though your mediator will be able to remind you and your co-parent of all your options, he or she is not permitted to give legal advice because the mediator must be unbiased.