Mediation is one possible way of resolving child custody or visitation disputes. It is a cooperative approach to dispute resolution, where a neutral third person (the mediator) meets with both parties involved in the argument and attempts to guide them to a solution. The mediator cannot force them to accept a solution, but rather aids them in crafting an agreement that can be mutually agreed upon. It should be noted that in some states, in the event that a resolution cannot be reached by mediation, the court may ask the mediator to make a recommendation.
When it comes to disputes concerning custody and visitation, mediation has several
- It does NOT involve lawyers or expert witnesses, and consequently is significantly less expensive.
- In contrast with litigation, which can go on for years, mediation typically results in a resolution of the dispute in a week or two (with between five and ten hours of mediation per week).
- It strengthens the communication between the couple, increasingly the likelihood of cooperative parenting following the divorce.
Obviously, some might be skeptical about the ability of a mediator to bring together two people with bitter feelings toward each other, and admittedly, not all cases of mediation reach a resolution. However, mediators are quite gifted when it comes to getting parents to agree, for the sake of their children. They are also often able to help the parents recognize that reaching an agreement is not only better for children, but also better for themselves. Mediators can also begin by meeting with the parties individually, should they desire not to see each other. Eventually, however, they can reach the point where a face-to-face meeting is possible.