Going through a divorce is almost always an extremely emotional and stressful process. When a disagreement over the custody of a child enters into the equation, the distress and conflict that arises can be life-shattering. Parties in a divorce must enter into a trial situation when they cannot agree on a shared custody arrangement and must be forced to obey a schedule decided on by a judge. When this happens, it is likely that the two parents will never reach an amicable agreement. This is not in the best interests of the child as the animosity that develops over the course of years is certain to affect them adversely.
Whenever possible, mediation is far preferable to the alternative. Mediation is an important step in ensuring that the well-being and best interests of the child, or children, and both parties involved can be secured. A mediator can help to facilitate communication in a way that makes both sides able to listen to each other’s concerns while avoiding a destructive conflict. Salt Lake City, Utah child custody mediation attorney, David Pedrazas, has handled thousands of custody cases and can provide you with the knowledge and experience you need.
Mediation in child custody gives parents a chance to resolve disagreements about a parenting plan for their children. Call us or fill out our online form today!
The Cost of Custody Mediation
The cost of custody mediation will depend on the number of issues that need to be worked out, the amount of time the mediator must spend working with the parties, and the fees schedule of the mediator. Mediation is almost always less expensive than fighting over custody in court. This is because there will be fewer legal fees and because mediation is simpler and less time-consuming.
Mediation is in the Best Interest of the Child
In the state of Utah, parents who divorce are strongly encouraged to work together to the best of their ability before taking their case before a judge. This is because in Utah, just like in every other state in the Union, the best interests of the child are the first priority and because a mutually agreeable settlement is always less traumatic than a fiercely contested custody arrangement. For this reason, the State of Utah asks that the parties to a divorce enter into mediation before going to court.
Because the court is legally obligated to look out for the best interests of the child first– before considering the rights or needs of the mother or father- going into mediation is always preferable. In a trial situation, there will always be a winner and a loser- but in mediation, that unfortunate eventuality can be avoided; and that is always in the child’s best interest.
Preparing for Child Custody Mediation
Before the mediation process begins, there are a few steps you should take to ensure you are prepared.
- Seek the advice of family law attorney David Pedrazas in Salt Lake City, who is trained and experienced in divorce and custody law. He will be able to help you understand your rights and responsibilities, and give you important advice on how to conduct yourself during this sensitive period of time.
- Write out your own draft of a fair custody schedule. This is your opportunity to show good faith and to be proactive.
- Write a detailed description of your current daily schedule and your child’s schedule. This will help the mediator and the other party to plan around it. This is far preferable to explaining why you cannot agree to various peculiarities of someone else’s custody sharing plan.
- Gather and organize all of the relevant paperwork concerning your child such as school records, doctor visits, extracurricular activities and obligations, birth certificates and so on. Have these ready for reference when needed.
Steps in the Process of Mediation for Child Custody
While mediation is voluntary in most states, in Utah, parents are required to complete the mediation process before going forward. In is in the best interest of everyone involved that mediation should proceed as amicably as possible and that custody be resolved without going to court.
- First, you will meet with the mediator.
- Then you and the other party will identify and prioritize all contested issues.
- Then each issue will be discussed with the aim of arriving at a mutually beneficial agreement.
- Once an agreement is reached on each contested issue, a comprehensive draft of the total agreement will be written and distributed to each party.
The more individual issues you and the other party need to work out, the longer mediation will take- and the more expensive it will be. If possible, you might benefit from meeting with your former spouse before mediation begins to try to make the list of issues as concise as possible. If such a meeting is not possible, the mediation process is still there to support you going forward.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody Mediation
Knowing when to contact an attorney regarding child custody mediation might be difficult. We recommend contacting them if you’re involved in a dispute about the custody of your child. These mediation professionals can assist parents with finding a custody plan that both parties can agree with. After you’ve tried to reach an agreement on countless occasions and you are unsuccessful, then it may be time to contact an attorney for mediation.
A child custody mediator is typically a skilled and experienced attorney that helps those dealing with child custody disputes. This mediation happens outside the courtroom in order for the parents to work together to find a custody plan that works for them and their child. The basis of these mediators is that they are a neutral party and never choose a side, so they can work with both parents to help come to an agreement that works in the best interest of the child.
The time it takes for child custody mediation depends on many factors. However, on many occasions, mediation can be completed within three months. Parents can set their own schedule with the mediator to make appointments when they’re available, so it’s common for the mediation to run longer than three months. However, if the mediation appointments are successful from the start, the completion of mediation might only last a month or two. It all depends on the accomplishments and progress made within these meetings and if both parties can come to an agreement.
In simple terms, child custody litigation involves the courts and mediation does not. Under litigation, each party has their own attorney that will fight on their behalf in court. For child custody mediation, instead of working against each other, parents are working together to come to an agreement about their custody of their child. The decisions made under litigation fall into the hands of the court, but mediation involves the parents consulting together to come to an agreement before the courts are involved.
The outcomes of child custody mediation vary greatly from situation to situation. In fact, sometimes mediation doesn’t work at all, which could lead to a very troublesome and argumentative court visit. However, many times the mediation process is very effective and parents are able to come to an agreement. The mediator will work with the two parties to discuss their needs and concerns, and the child is also encouraged to join the discussions.
A contested divorce is when both parties cannot come to an agreement over the custody of their child. However, it’s important to understand that child custody can still be successful—it just might require more work. A contested divorce can stem from many disagreements, whether it involves the division of assets, alimony, or allocation of debts. However, child custody mediation strictly involves child custody, so that should be the focus at these appointments. So although more difficult, mediation can still be successful in contested divorce cases.
Mediation for Child custody typically happens after both parties have requested and responded to discovery requests, which is intended for both parties to learn more information about the opposing party, including answers to their questions, documents, and other evidence that is relevant.
Salt Lake City Child Custody Mediation Attorney David Pedrazas
Whether you and your former spouse are seeking a mediation attorney through your divorce or would like to modify your child custody arrangement after your divorce, Utah mediation attorney, David Pedrazas has over 20 years of experience helping people like you through the mediation process in the Salt Lake City area. He has handled over 1,000 divorce and family law cases and is ready to assist you. For more information about mediation vs lawyer for child custody, get in touch with the Law Office of David Pedrazas PLLC, today for your Legal Case Review.