In Oakland and throughout California, one of the most common sources for dispute in a family law case is child custody and parenting time. Complex cases in which the parents are both seeking custody or situations where there have been allegations of domestic violence can be difficult to settle. However, some circumstances feature sufficient common ground that child custody mediation might be effective. Since children are a sensitive topic and dispute is frequent and may be contentious, it is important to understand the basics of child custody mediation and the mediation process in general.
Negotiating with help from a mediator can avoid court
Because going to court can be emotionally draining and financially costly, mediation may be a wise strategy if the sides are able to communicate and do so with flexibility. A mediator is trained to be independent and seek ways in which the sides can come to an amicable agreement. The parties can meet with the mediator together or separately. When there have been domestic violence allegations, it may be preferable to meet separately. The issues in dispute will be discussed in detail. Often, when people are discussing the case, they find they are not as far apart as they seemed to be when they decided to part ways as a couple.
The children’s needs are fundamental and their best interests must be served. Age and development are key factors when negotiating the living arrangements, how parenting time will be allocated, which parent will have the child during summer vacations and holidays, and more. In some cases, the court will order the child custody mediation. In others, the parents agree to it. The mediator will not take sides and the child’s well-being is paramount. While it does not always yield a positive result and the case might need to go to court, it can be a cost-effective and positive strategy to reach an acceptable agreement without needing to have a protracted court battle.
Legal assistance with experienced professional mediators can be effective
As a divorce proceeds, the sides could harbor negative feelings toward one another and that can extend toward the child custody and parenting time determination. Skilled and experienced legal professionals who understand the positive aspects of mediation could help in settling the case to the satisfaction of everyone involved. Before embarking on a difficult court case, discussing this option with legal professionals experienced in mediation and collaborative law can be a useful step.