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Can mediation be used to settle a child custody matter?

Having children can change the way that a Stockton couple may approach its divorce. Without kids, a couple may look for an efficient way to end the marriage. With kids, however, the couple may find that its desire for efficiency is trumped by the need to engage in careful and sometimes lengthy negotiations over the kids' well-being.

California parents do have options for resolving their child-related divorce issues. They may choose to litigate their child custody and visitation matters in a traditional divorce hearing. If they are willing to work together and make a custody plan without a court's intervention, parents may also settle their custody issues in a mediated setting.

The goal of mediation is for the parents to emerge from the process with a sound parenting plan. That plan will explain how legal and physical custody of the child or children will be managed and if visitation will be needed. Mediation gives parents control over the decisions made about their kids when they separate but does not have to be the last step in the parents' effort to create a parenting plan.

If parents are unable to set their differences aside and cannot settle on a complete plan, with the help of their mediator they can move their matter to the family courts. A mediator can provide suggestions to the parents and the court regarding ways to resolve the problems; an unsuccessful mediation can generally be settled in a courtroom.

Parents and the family courts both usually have the same goal when it comes to making a child custody parenting plan: to serve the best interests of the child subject to the plan. Individuals who wish to learn more about mediation may choose to seek out specific information on the process as this post should not be read as specific advice.

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