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Custody Mediation: 4 Common Questions About The Process

One of the hardest parts of going through a divorce is deciding on a custody arrangement for your children. It is so important to find a balance with your spouse, which is why you should settle custody arrangements through mediation. If you've never been through custody mediation before, you will most likely have questions about what you can expect during the process. Here are the answers to some common questions you may have.

What Is Custody Mediation?

You will go through the custody mediation process before your divorce case goes to court. The goal of custody mediation should be to reach an agreement that is amicable regarding custody between you and your spouse.
Many parents prefer custody mediation because it gives them the feeling that they have control over the decision. It can also lead to parents having less animosity about the custody arrangement because it is a decision that they agreed to. Another reason people choose mediation is that it is often much less expensive than going to court.
Expect your custody mediation to be attended by a mediator-who may also be a lawyer-that guides the discussion. You can also have your own attorney either attend the mediation or simply counsel you beforehand. For tense situations, mediation is done with both parents apart, and the mediator helps with communication. 

Will Children Have to Attend Custody Mediation?

It is common to leave children out of custody mediation. Many parents do have disagreements when it comes to the custody of their children, and it is best for the children to not see these discussions first hand. You will want to arrange to have somebody watch over your kids during custody mediation so they do not attend.
That said, sometimes children do attend a custody mediation to voice their personal wishes about what they want for custody arrangements. This arrangement is common with older children who are capable of expressing their desires. If children will attend custody mediation, know that they do not need to be there for the entire process. You can bring your children into mediation to make their formal statements and not stick around for discussion.

What Happens When Custody Mediation Does Not Work?

When custody mediation is not successful, the alternative is to have a judge decide on custody arrangements. Both parents will be given an opportunity to make their case to the judge about their desires regarding custody. Children also have the option to make statements to the judge as well, even if they did not participate in custody mediation.
The decision that the judge makes regarding custody will be the final decision. You have the option to appeal the judge's ruling, but you have no guarantee that an appeal will be granted or that the decision will be reversed.

How Fast Is Custody Mediation?

Custody mediation will help you come to an agreement about custody very quickly. It is common for custody mediation to last for one or two weeks, while a court case could go on for years in some situations. The speed of mediation helps parents quickly move on to new living arrangements with their children since the final custody agreement can even be signed at the end of mediation.

The goal should always be to use mediation instead of a judge to solve conflicts regarding child custody. The ability to make a joint decision will provide the best possible chance of seeing a positive outcome you can live with. If you are looking for a competent lawyer to guide you through the process, know that Jeffrey N. Novack of the Novack Law Offices can assist with your child custody issues 

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    The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding you individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your call, letter or electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to you until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.