Frequently Asked Questions about Child Custody Mediation

Bickford Mediation Child Custody

What is Child Custody Mediation?
Child custody mediation allows parents to have a sense of control of their decision making and feel positive about what happens to their children following the separation or divorce. The more common or better known method of resolving custody disputes is known as litigation, which involves turning the decisions relating to custody over to the court for resolution. This process is very stressful, expensive, and contentious. The biggest problem with litigation is that a judge who is a stranger to the children makes these binding decisions about custody and other extremely important issues in the children’s lives.

How does Child Custody Mediation differ from a conventional litigated custody dispute?
Child custody mediation differs from the more conventional litigated custody dispute in nearly every respect. On the other hand litigation method (popular amongst most people), each party retains an attorney to duke it out in court.

Here are the differences:
Child Custody Mediation:
-A process in which the parents choose a mediator and works with both parents.
-Children partake in mediation and their input is strongly considered.
-Parents are permitted and encouraged to work together outside of court to meet their goals of their children.
-Opportunities to work through their feelings and anger towards each other.
Conventional Litigated Custody:
-The court is often used as a forum within which parent’s dispute against each other instead of working together.
-The power to make decisions regarding custody of the children is in the hands of the court.
-Typical children do not participate and their opinions are disregarded.
-Parents don’t work together to reach goals, in turn affecting the emotions of others.

What is the cost of litigation vs. mediation in child custody matters?
If a process is expected to require at least a year, it is going to be more expensive than a process that may resolve in three months. In litigation and mediation, the fees are based on time required. Often, parents have as much control, if not more control, than the attorney. The process will take less time if the parents are willing to comply and understand that their focus should be on their children instead of letting their emotions get the best of them.  If the parents don’t comply, this will put a hole in their pocket.

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