Is mediation appropriate for child custody disputes?

Fighting with an ex over every small detail of a divorce might seem like the normal thing to do, but in fact many divorcing couples do quite the opposite. By using mediation it is possible to have a non-adversarial divorce in which a couple can resolve problems outside of court. Mediation is for more than just property division and alimony, too. Many parents in California have successfully addressed child custody matters during mediation.

Although it is true that some parents struggle to agree on a child custody agreement, many others find that they agree on what the general terms should be. Working with a mediator can be an appropriate choice for the latter. Mediation is generally faster and much less expensive than handling things in court. For example, the process for formally establishing a custody agreement can last months or even years. Mediation is generally over in two weeks or less.

Mediation is not just a good choice for parents, it can also be beneficial to children. Multiple studies have demonstrated that children of divorced parents who can communicate and cooperate fare much better than their peers whose parents cannot. Since mediation helps divorcing couples — particularly parents — establish healthy communication habits for post-divorce life, taking this route can help both parents and children.

Working together during a divorce may feel counterintuitive. After all, California couples generally do not divorce because they want to continue speaking with one another. However, for parents who want to minimize expenses, spend less time in court and prioritize child custody, using mediation can be extremely beneficial.

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