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How a mediator can help with a child custody case

For Californians whose marriage is at an end, it does not necessarily need to be a contentious situation as they battle over every issue. Mediation could be an alternative with a variety of factors that will arise in the proceeding. One of the most pressing is child custody. While the parties might have a desire to be the custodial parent, it is a subject that is open to negotiation. That is here a mediator can help to smooth the process, avoid rancor, and have both parents take part in a decision that they have agreed upon. Knowing what happens in mediation is vital. It is also wise to have legal assistance from an attorney.

The parents must be able to negotiate for mediation to be effective. If that is the case, then they can formulate an agreement regarding the living arrangements, visitation and care of the child. The mediator will meet with the parents. This can be individually or together. Questions will be asked to gather information as to the couple's past and how best to proceed. In cases where there was domestic violence, the parties can request that they meet separately. The issues will be discussed and steps will be taken to resolve them.

Information will be shared regarding the child's needs based on their age and other factors. There are many issues that can be settled in mediation such as custody, visitation, where the child will spend summers and other holidays, how transportation will be handled and more. If the court has ordered mediation, it is because there is a belief that the concerns are negotiable. There are time limits with court-ordered mediation.

When the parents have legal representation, the attorney can take part in the mediation sessions. The mediator is a neutral party whose objective is to help the parents reach an agreement they are satisfied with and will protect the child and his or her best interests. Understanding the benefits and process for mediation is key to a successful resolution. Having legal advice from a law firm that specializes in child custody and divorce mediation is critical and calling a lawyer is the first step.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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