Is Mediation Your Best Option?
Mediation can be a great alternative to going through court over a custody or visitation issue in family law. Going to court can be messy, time consuming and costly. A lot of parents out there don’t even want to start the process for fear of the money they will inevitably have to spend on attorneys, court fees, filing fees etc. The amount of time it can take to fully go through the court process can have more negative effects, on you and your child, than the initial separation or divorce did. Going through court, in most cases, resigns both parties to not talking to each other and instead going through their attorneys; discussions do not take place, it’s mostly, “sign here on the dotted line” interactions. In most litigation scenarios, lack of communication greatly affects the relationship you will go on to have with your ex and the outcome of the case itself. So how does mediation work as an alternative? Let’s take a look.
- Time Is Money. Going through court can take forever. The last thing you want to do is drag this out longer than it needs to be. Not only can this negatively affect you emotionally, psychologically and financially, it can also affect your kids who are the primary concern here. It’s not unheard of for a custody case to go on for months at a time with no real resolution. If you have an attorney this just makes your costs go up as well. They don’t mind getting paid more. Going through court also takes a lot of the responsibility away from both parties involved because it cuts out the practice of solving the issue in a civil way rather than throwing papers at each other with each party’s listed demands and responses to those demands.
- Lack of Communication. As stated above, going through court and serving each other with papers and having a judge make a ruling on the matter really takes away from a positive experience that can be had by settling outside of court through mediation. Mediation is a great tool to solve the problem involving custody and/or visitation. It allows both parents to talk to each other in a way that wants are addressed and feelings are acknowledged. Often times a third party mediator is brought in to facilitate the process of mediation but the problem is not solved by them, it’s solved by the parents; this leaves a greater opportunity for both parents to work together in coming to a parenting schedule that works for them.
The whole goal here is to solve the problem at hand. Going to court is mostly necessary with these situations, but at times resolving the problem of who gets custody of your child or children can be resolved by talking to each other and making a plan/schedule that works for everyone. The judge isn’t going to take your personal feelings into account. Court in general is a very impersonal affair; the judge is going to make a decision based on just the facts. Mediation really takes into account everyone’s feelings because they are dealing with it directly instead of being told what to do by someone with a gavel and a robe. Obviously the children’s well being is the main concern but if the two of you are able to work things out through mediation without having to go to court over the issue, this will improve your relationship after your separation which will in turn make it easier for your child to cope with the change taking place.
- Taking the High Road (aboutthechildrenblog.com)