Child custody is an important aspect of divorce. For many couples, it is the most important aspect of the divorce. This is especially the case when there is a party who has acted abusively to the children or who is unfit to be a parent in some other way. Even when issues such as these do not arise in child custody cases, the fighting can be quite bitter. In many of these cases, a judge's intervention is required to come to some sort of resolution. In some cases, though, couples can benefit from working out their issues in mediation.
Mediation is different from litigation in that it is not considered an adversarial process. Mediation involves working with a neutral third party whose task is to help both parties come to a mutually acceptable agreement on the issues concerning which they are experiencing an impasse. The aim of mediation is to keep the process amicable, which is obviously not the case in the adversarial process.
Parenting agreements are a particularly important aspect of what is dealt with in the mediation process. Because of the nature of mediation, couples have the opportunity to work out an agreement that, while not necessarily perfect, takes both of their interests into account in a way that court ordered agreements usually do not. Mediation is typically significantly less expensive than litigation as well.
North Carolina actually has a program dedicated specifically to helping couples mediate child custody disputes. The North Carolina Child Custody and Visitation Program utilizes professionals skilled in both counseling and the family mediation.
The bottom line is that for couples who are open to the process, mediation can be very beneficial. That said, not all couples are going to be able to resolve their differences in mediation. Consulting an experienced attorney can help give parties a better idea of whether their issues are best resolved in mediation or litigation.
More blogs coming up…