Why Custody Mediation May Be Best for You and Your Children
Divorce is a painful process not only for the partners, but also for the children involved. When children are involved, you can undoubtedly expect both parents to fight for their children’s custody in court. The result of these constant fights in and out of court can significantly intensify the pain and expenses of divorce. Fortunately, if this is a situation you are currently going through, there may be a solution for you with the help of your experienced divorce lawyer.
Custody mediation can be a great solution to avoid added stress during divorce. This article will discuss the purpose of custody mediation and the benefits of using this process to determine your child’s custody. So, let’s dive in.
What’s custody mediation?
Custody mediation is a custody process that enables parents to work together with a mediator to come up with a parenting plan that allows both to share time and raise their kids after divorce. The primary goal of this process is to help parents develop a plan that works best for the interests of their children. And, according to statistics, at least 50 to 90 percent of parents have successfully come up with a parenting plan that makes co-parenting effective for both parties even after the divorce is finalized.
How does custody mediation work?
It’s necessary to get one thing clear; child custody mediation isn’t the all-or-nothing process that most people assume it to be. It doesn’t end with one parent getting the kids, while the other only has visitation rights. The process seeks to establish a system that enables all the children to have both their parents in their life.
At its core, this process includes two concepts: physical and legal custody.
- Physical custody relates to where children will primarily reside after the divorce. The courts or the mediation process determine where the kids will live depending on where each parent lives, with the primary goal being to provide a suitable arrangement that best suits the child’s needs.
- On the other hand, legal custody has to do with which parents make the major decisions regarding the child’s life, like religious upbringing, education, and non-emergency medical treatment. Unless one parent is unqualified, the courts prefer both parents to share legal custody.
Apart from the two legal concepts, custody mediation can be done in court-ordered mediation or private custody mediation. Compared to private custody mediation, court-ordered mediation is often low-cost, free, or priced based on the parents’ incomes.
It’s also important to note that even if a judge mandates you to participate in custody mediation, you have the option of choosing a private or court-ordered, mandated program. Also, if you are looking for a custody mediation that gives you more say throughout the process, private custody mediation might be your best option.
Benefits of custody mediation
Some benefits that come from using custody mediation include:
You can control the outcome
It doesn’t matter if it’s a court-ordered or private custody mediation; both parents have complete freedom to control the outcome. You and your partner can decide where your kids should live, where they should go to school, their vacation and holiday schedules, and who gets to make the major decisions concerning the children’s educational and medical needs. This mediation process is completely different from a litigation process.
In a litigation process, a judge decides the children’s personal matters with little information about the family circumstances. The truth is no one knows your children better than you do. And with custody mediation, you and your partner can make final decisions that best suit all parties.
The process is better for your child’s emotional well-being
Custody mediation helps you focus on what matters most – your kids. Despite all the pain and chaos that divorce cases come with, your kids will still be part of your life even after the divorce is complete. Custody mediation allows you to focus on their emotional well-being even during the divorce. The process also helps minimize conflict and stress on your children that the divorce process can bring about.
There’s nothing more beneficial for your child’s emotional well-being than seeing their parents cooperate and communicate with each other, despite their disagreements. Remember, mediation is collaborative, so it keeps you and your spouse focused on your child’s well-being. This focus is beneficial for all parties.
The agreements are likely to be followed successfully
Unlike court litigation, custody mediation satisfies both parties. This process has no losers or winners, and it allows parents to focus on their children rather than outdoing each other. Custody mediation enables parents to feel invested and involved in the entire process. When both parents are involved in the process, it gets easier for all parties to be satisfied with the outcome.
Custody agreements also make it easier for parents to develop mutual decisions for their parenting plan. This cooperation drastically increases the chances that the plan is successfully followed.
It gives parents skills that make them better at co-parenting
Another benefit of using custody mediation is that you acquire parenting skills that make it easier to co-parent. The reality is when a divorcing couple has children, they will always be a part of each other’s lives, whether they want to or not. With the skills you acquire in mediation, you can build a strong foundation that positively reinforces your co-parenting skills in the future.
Custody mediation teaches how to communicate with each other, put your differences aside for your children’s sake, be flexible, and listen effectively. By coming up with a suitable agreement, you feel more encouraged to co-parent effectively even after the divorce is finalized.
Helps you save money
The average cost of a custody mediation is between $3,000 to $5,000, which is a fraction of what you pay for a litigation case. With the process being cost-effective, you can save the money you would spend on litigation and put it to good use, like your child’s college fund.
Remember, the primary goal of a custody mediation is to help develop a parenting plan for your child even after the divorce. Having a lawyer to walk with you throughout the entire process can make a tremendous difference. Jimeno & Gray, P.A. is here to help.
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Gregory P. Jimeno, Esquire
Frank C. Gray, Jr., Esquire.
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