Whether a child custody determination is part of a divorce case or a separate matter, these cases can take a long time to negotiate and settle on a custody arrangement. In many cases, you and your child’s other parent may be unable to reach an agreement and the court will have to make a custody determination for you. In such cases, not only do court hearings and trials take time and money, but the court’s decision is often not ideal for anyone involved. In order to save resources and maintain more control over the child custody process, parents facing custody cases should consider child custody mediation.
Reasons To Consider Mediation
There are many reasons that people involved in a child custody dispute may want to try mediation before resorting to litigation in Arizona’s courts. Importantly, the conversations and outcome of mediation are generally not relevant to any court decision that may come later, so there is no risk with attempting mediation. If mediation fails, the parties can still proceed to court to resolve their dispute. Some of the benefits of mediation are discussed below.
- Court hearings and trials are, by nature, adversarial events. As a result, these situations are often intimidating and result in a clear winner and loser. In mediation, however, the parties work together to find a mutually agreeable resolution and are often able to craft a solution that meets each party’s needs.
- While court proceedings are part of the public record, the conversations that occur during mediation are generally confidential. As a result, the parties to mediation are able to speak more freely about the issues at hand and there is less risk of potentially embarrassing or private details about the situation being made available to the public.
- Mediation generally costs significantly less that conducting a trial. For one thing, mediation usually takes significantly less time than going to court, and while the parties may have private counsel if they wish, they may also choose to enter into mediation without the assistance of an attorney, saving money on legal fees.
- Mediation can preserve your relationship with your child’s other parent. As mentioned above, court proceedings tend to produce a clear winner and loser. In addition, there is less opportunity in court to work together to find a solution and for each party to express his or her feelings on a particular issue. When child custody disputes are settled through mediation, however, both parties can feel that they have gotten at least part of what they wanted, often setting the stage for a more positive relationship as time goes on.
How can I know if Mediation will Work for Me?
There is no way to be certain whether mediation will be a viable option in your case without actually engaging in the process. That being said, consulting with an attorney familiar with representing people involved in child custody disputes and who understands mediation will often give you a better idea about whether mediation could work in your situation. For this reason, people who are considering mediation should always speak with an experienced child custody attorney.
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