California parents who are attempting to work out their child custody issues have the option of using mediation to reach an agreement. While mediation might not work for all families, for many, it is an option that can provide several important benefits.
How does mediation work?
As an alternative dispute resolution method, mediation allows parents to work out their child custody issues outside the court with the help of a mediator who is a neutral third party. The mediator works with both parties to go through the conflicts related to child custody until the parents can finalize an agreement or create a parenting plan. This is then presented to the family court judge for final approval.
In this process, the mediator helps parents keep or return their focus to the child’s best interest. It can work even for parents with a lot of conflict in their relationship as the mediator can work with each parent and their respective divorce lawyer independently and go back and forth between them until they can reach an agreement.
The benefits of mediation
Mediation offers families several benefits that can help them move forward. These include:
- The possibility of a much faster resolution since mediation can take weeks instead of months
- A more relaxed atmosphere to resolve child custody issues as the mediation process is done in private
- A cost-effective process as a faster out-of-court resolution can be less expensive than a court battle
- The path to a more amicable relationship between co-parents
In situations where there is a history of domestic violence or child abuse, mediation is not ideal since the process might just reinforce existing power dynamics. However, when appropriate, mediation can help parents craft a custody solution that fits their unique situation.