Your marriage is ending and you are figuring out how you would like to handle the divorce process. You and your ex-spouse have children, and would like to settle everything as quickly as possible to prevent a stressful, drawn-out divorce.
You both want to be involved in your children's lives and to do what is best for them. But now you have to figure out what that arrangement will look like on a day-to-day basis. How can mediation be a useful tool for determining child custody arrangements?
Mediation can save you time and money
A litigious divorce can be long and expensive, easily stretching out over many months as couples argue in favor of their best interests. In contrast, mediation can usually be completed within a few weeks. Instead of hiring two attorneys, you and your spouse will jointly hire one mediator, significantly reducing costs.
You are able to determine what arrangement works for your family
During litigation, a judge decides what childcare arrangement makes the most sense for your family. They impose a decision without having the intimate knowledge of your family life that only you and your ex-spouse can have. Despite their best intentions, they may enforce a solution that does not smoothly integrate with how your family operates.
During mediation, the mediator does not impose any decision on your family. They offer creative child custody solutions and help you talk through disagreements, but they cannot force a final decision. You and your ex-spouse will agree on the final outcome. This increases your chances of reaching a mutually beneficial outcome that both of you will be happy with.
Salvage your relationship with your ex-spouse
You may not currently have the best relationship with your ex-spouse, but mediation can help you rebuild a healthy relationship. When you mediate your child custody arrangement, you and your ex-spouse work as a team to determine an arrangement. It can reduce some of the bitter fighting that accompanies litigation, and the resentment of a spouse who feels like they "lost" in the divorce.
You and your ex-spouse will have to work together for years to come to finalize childcare schedules, discuss support payments and smooth out any last minute changes. Therefore, it may be easier to start rebuilding your relationship sooner rather than later.
Interested in mediation?
If you try mediation and discover that the process does not work for your family, you can transition to traditional litigation. You will not be bound to anything that you say and agree to during mediation.
If you are interested in exploring mediation, contact an attorney who can discuss the process with you and help you determine if it is right for your family.