Child Custody Mediation

What does mediation means and what does “custody” mean?

“Mediation” is a process through which mutual agreement can be reached among a conflict. All parties involved participate voluntarily. The benefits of mediation is that all parties involved win, the process is cheaper and much quicker. Hiring your own divorce attorney is costly, often results in a fight in court and the procedure takes a lot of time.

“Custody” means:

  • the person the child will actually live with.
  • the person who makes most of the decisions for the child that concern the topics such as health care, education, etc. The outcome of a custody is often in the format of a parenting plan.

What does “child custody mediation” mean?

When both parents agree on what kind of custody they, the judge will often follow this agreement. However, this is not always the case. It is also possible that both the parents do not agree on who will have “custody “ of their children. In that case a judge may decide to send the parents to a mediator.

The judge will propose the “mediator” to assist the parents preparing a parenting plan. This parenting plan stipulates and explains with which person the child will live most of the time and the person who will make most important decisions for the child.What does “child custody mediation” mean?

When both parents agree on what kind of custody they, the judge will often follow this agreement. However, this is not always the case. It is also possible that both the parents do not agree on who will have “custody “ of their children. In that case a judge may decide to send the parents to a mediator.

The judge will propose the “mediator” to assist the parents preparing a parenting plan. This parenting plan stipulates and explains with which person the child will live most of the time and the person who will make most important decisions for the child.

Who is this “mediator”?

Depending on the jurisdiction, mediators work for the courts or are independent professionals. A mediator helps both parents to decide on a parenting plan best fitted for their children. These professionals are trained to work with divorsed or seperated parents and are able to handle cases of domestic violence. In case there is a restraining order, it is possible and advised that you bring a support person to the mediation. If this is not the case, you can still ask the mediator if a support person can come with you.

How does the mediator help?

Together with the parents the mediator will decide on a parenting plan. In that plan it is important that both the parents and the children are being protected. The plan details how you and the other parent will make decisions about the children and when the children will stay with each parent. The professional mediator can help you with information about getting help with housing, counseling, or financial problems.

In case there is doubt about the safety of one of the parents or the children’s safety, inform the mediator. If needed or wanted a mediator will assist setting up a “safety plan” for you and your children. This safety plan also entails safe ways to have the children visit both parents.

You do not have to meet the mediator together with the other parent. You can ask to speak with the mediator alone. The mediator is not bound by secrecy rules. What one parent discusses with the mediator my have to be told the other parent or the judge. The mediator is obliged to report child abuse. The mediator will explain the privacy rules before the meetings start.

The legal basis of mediation

A collaborative divorce is a legal process covered in Collaborative Law. Collaborative law started to kick off in the 1980-ies. Today it exists in many countries.

In case of possible domestic violence

There are a couple of things you need to do if you are worried about domestic violence:
First of all inform your lawyer and the judge about the violence and/or abuse. If possible try to get help from a local agency. Secondly advise your mediator. They can arrange seperate meetings with the mediator if you do not feel comfortable meeting with the abusive person. Thirdly ask the mediator about supervised visitation.

What does “supervised visitation”mean?

In the situation of a “supervised visitation” the child can visit the other parent only if another adult is also present. There often is a “supervised visitation center” close to where you live. If there is no such center in your neighbourhood, check with your lawyer and mediator about other options.

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