Custody Mediation in California Cases
When going through a divorce and/or separation, one of the most salient issues concerns the well-being of the children. Divorces are often contentious and difficult processes to go through, and it can become stressful (or downright impossible) to figure out an arrangement concerning the custody of the children. In order to come to an agreement regarding custody, parents can go through custody mediation. This process allows for the parents to meet with a mediator and create a parenting plan that can help resolve disagreements and provide the best environment for the children. If you are going through a divorce or separation and there are children involved, we encourage you to reach out to us for more information.
How Does Custody Mediation Work?
Prior to arbitration or any form of court proceedings, California family courts provide mediators for the purpose of creating parenting plans. The mediator is an experienced neutral party who meets with both parents, analyzes the issues, and presents possible solutions/options for how the parents should move forward with their parenting agreement. Depending on the court, the parents can have their lawyers present throughout the custody mediation; however, if this is not permitted in a specific family court, the parents can still present their lawyers with the outcomes of the mediation and come to a legal decision together.
The mediator’s goal is to construct a parenting plan that works for both parents, but more importantly, for the children. Every issue relevant to the well-being of the child should be discussed. For example, the mediation can create a plan for how to address physical custody, the children’s mental and physical health, holiday plans, schooling, and much more. Essentially, the parents will work through and establish a plan that allows them to best co-parent their children.
Leaving Custody Mediation with or without an Agreement
In the best-case scenario, the parents should walk out of mediation with an agreed-to parenting plan. If the two parties have come to an agreement, said agreement becomes officially binding upon a judge’s signature. However, in some situations, the parents may not come to an agreement during custody mediation. In such instances, the parents will most likely have to settle their issues through court proceedings. The family court judge can then choose to consider the mediator’s opinions on the matters.