Divorces are always tough. That is doubly true when child custody and visitation matters are at issue. Many families in Virginia look for alternative methods to litigation in order to determine child custody. One of these is mediation. In the right cases, mediation can save you time and money. If your spouse, former spouse, or co-parent suggests mediation for child custody or visitation issues, talk to an attorney at Maddox & Gerock, P.C. about whether it is appropriate for your case.
What mediation is
Mediation is a process where the two parties in a divorce, or custody and visitation matter outside of a divorce, try to work out a settlement for their child custody arrangements. They aren’t working alone; a mediator helps them. These trained, neutral third parties help the parents talk through their issues and come to an agreement together. Mediation is different from a process like arbitration because the third party doesn’t hand down a binding decision. The couple comes to it themselves using the mediator as a guide.
How mediation works
A mediation session can last for several hours, and in some cases occurs over a period of multiple days. During the process, the mediator lets each of you tell your side of the story. They will also try and help you talk out the sticking points that are keeping you from reaching an agreement. Mediation can be a way to get some of what each of you believes is in your child(ren)’s best interests in the custody schedule. Otherwise, the court can simply impose an arrangement. One reason to use mediation instead of litigation is because you have a lot more control over the outcome of your child(ren)’s custodial arrangements when you and your co-parent are empowered to make those choices. You know the specifics of your child(ren)’s needs and you can fashion a much more specific agreement than the court can.
Mediation for child custody cases doesn’t always work out. In that case, the court will decide the issues. However, participating in mediation can still work in your favor when it comes to custody. It shows the judge that you were acting in good faith to come to an agreement. If your co-parent wants to try mediation, speak with your lawyer before deciding to accept or decline. The attorneys at Maddox & Gerock, P.C. are all well-versed in mediation and would be happy to consult with you about guiding you through that process. Furthermore, Partners Kathy Maddox and Julie Gerock are certified to conduct mediation sessions should you and your co-parent want to consider Maddox & Gerock, P.C. for your mediation needs.