Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Child Custody Mediation Process

By Sue McCurnin, Attorney, A. L. Harvey Law, PLC

If you are going through a divorce, and you and your partner have children under the age of eighteen, then child custody is most likely one of the issues you are most concerned with. In California, custody mediation is required by most courts before a court order is made. Mediation has many advantages: it is less threatening, parties are usually willing to compromise more frequently, the mediator is an unbiased third-party, it is less expensive and finally it offers a quicker solution than going to court.  Prior to mediation you should take the following actions in order to be fully prepared:

  • Write out your current daily schedules for you and your child(ren).
  • Write out a custody and visitation proposal that you would like to present at the mediation session.
  • Put together a folder or binder of your child’s records.
  • Consider getting professional legal advice from an attorney who can advise you on relative legal matters.

The child custody mediation process can be broken down into five steps. This five step process will take significantly less time depending on the intricacy of custody issues and the parents ability to reach an agreement.

Step 1: Meet With The Mediator:  At this initial meeting, the mediator will cover the rules of the
process and the confidentiality factors.

Step 2: Identify and Organize Issues: After making a list of all issues that need to be covered through mediation, it is necessary to prioritize those issues with the mediator.
Below, are some issues and topics to discuss during mediation:

  • Custody and visitation scheduleand exceptions such as holidays and vacations 
  • Parental communication
  • How will you communicate with your ex-partner regarding your child? Ie: face-to-face during drop-offs, text, email, call and/ or video chat.
  • Religion
  • Medical and/or healthcare
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Education
  • Future changes agreement

Step 3: Discuss Solutions to Issues: Each party should provide solutions to the issues at stake. It is
essential to honestly discuss what you believe is fair and you must be willing to work in your child’s best interest.

Step 4: Draft A Custody Agreement: After the issues are presented and solutions are provided, the mediator will prepare the custody agreement. It is advised you have your attorney review this agreement since it is a legally binding contract.

Step 5: Sign The Custody Agreement: Coming to a custody agreement through the mediation process will
avoid the stressful and heart-wrenching child custody battle in court.
Through all of this, it is most important to put your child(ren) first and give them the best childhood as possible.  This should not be construed as legal advice.

No comments:

Post a Comment