In some child custody cases, people choose to go through mediation in an effort to reach a child custody and visitation agreement with the other parent. In the event an agreement is reached through mediation, the agreement can then be filed with the court, and it will become the court's order. Mediation may thus be a good option for people if they believe they can negotiate an agreement between themselves, as it can save significant time and money that might otherwise be involved.
When parents agree to schedule mediation, they should be prepared to try to reach an agreement. It is a good idea for a parent to have a proposed parenting plan written in advance. The plan should include information such as a proposed visitation schedule, where the child will primarily live and who will be responsible for making the decisions regarding the child. The plan should also include a proposed holiday time-sharing schedule as well.
People should remember that their child's best interests and needs that are ultimately important. Normally, children benefit the most by being able to see each parent liberally. At mediation, a parent can expect a trained and neutral mediator to be present. While the mediator will not issue a ruling, he or she will help facilitate an agreement. If an agreement is not reached, the parents are then free to resume court litigation.
Mediation is one type of alternate dispute resolution methods that may be available to parents. While mediation is often successful, it is not appropriate for all people and situations. In the event there is a history of domestic violence or other such concerns, litigation may instead be necessary. In a majority of other cases, however, mediation may provide parents a way to reach an amicable agreement that is in their child's best interests.