Child custody issues tend to involve intense emotions and complex relationships. Many parents choose to go through the mediation process to find the most effective resolution that prioritizes the child’s best interests and helps them avoid a contentious negotiation. The following guide outlines the steps you can expect to follow if you seek mediation for a child custody case.
Find & Meet With a Mediator
The first step is to identify a mediator that both you and your ex can agree on. Your initial session will focus on how the mediation process works, what each parent’s role is, and what the attorney will do to facilitate the discussion. Once this information has been presented, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the details of your case.
Name & Organize the Contested Issues
It’s common for parents to disagree about what is best for their child. Mediation sessions give you time to name the issues and expand on them to give the mediator a clear picture of your concerns and parenting goals. You will also be asked to categorize the issues, prioritizing the ones that require immediate attention. If you and your ex cannot agree, the mediator may recommend tackling the easier issues before moving on to the harder ones.
Brainstorm Possible Solutions
Keeping an open mind and a level head, you will need to think of acceptable solutions to the issues raised in the previous step. Negotiation is a necessary component of this stage, and your mediator will help facilitate a smoother process. Both parents may need to adjust their expectations and priorities to reach amicable solutions.
Compose & Sign a Custody Agreement
The terms you and your ex agree upon will be drafted into a custody arrangement. Be sure to read and review the document carefully to ensure it honors all the points you've agreed to. You will both sign the agreement and filed it the courts.
Mediation provides an alternative to family court and empowers both parents to take an active role in deciding what is best for their child. For over 15 years, the attorneys and mediation professionals at Williams, Hall & Latherow, LLP, have been helping Ashland, KY, families reach effective co-parenting solutions that meet everyone’s needs and promote family harmony. Call (606) 329-1919 or visit the law firm’s website to schedule a consultation.