Divorce Mediation – An Effective Way to Discuss Child Custody and Visitation
Long Island Divorce mediation is an effective process whereby divorcing couples can meet with a neutral third-party for confidential discussions to resolve and agree upon their individual divorce-related questions. Divorce mediation is typically much less costly and less disruptive than a lengthy divorce trial, and therefore it generally progresses much quicker. Before considering mediation, it’s important to understand the process itself. Divorce mediation involves an unbiased third party who offers neutral advice to the divorcing couple. It does not involve the involvement of attorneys or law officers, and there is no requirement that the parties prove their inability to settle their divorce issues through other channels.
When working with a divorce mediation professional, there are several things you should be aware of to ensure you receive the most valuable guidance in resolving your differences. First, both you and your spouse should be represented by a licensed attorney practicing in the state in which the divorce is being contested. Second, only you and your spouse should have any say during the mediation process; third, each side needs to carefully prepare for their own presentation at the mediation meeting.
In order to get the most out of a divorce mediation, it’s essential to find a suitable mediator. Ideally, the person should be an experienced divorce lawyer or professional from an area that is familiar with dealing with these types of cases. It is wise to avoid hiring someone who has never presented mediation before, as this may create a more favorable environment for both parties during the mediation session. Many mediators offer introductory legal consultations to potential clients free of charge; if your spouse agrees to participate in a free introductory workshop, it’s a great way to begin your search for a qualified mediator.
If you opt for a mediation that uses a neutral third party, the process becomes much more streamlined. However, even if you hire a neutral third party, you still have many options available to you as you progress through the mediation. Here are a few of those options to help you make sure that mediation goes well.
Traditional litigation and alternative dispute resolution are just two of the options that couples can explore during mediation. While litigation and alternative dispute resolution tend to be less costly than traditional litigation, attorneys who are used to representing a variety of clients (and having a thorough understanding of the local rules of evidence and procedure) will be better able to represent you during mediation. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Consider speaking with an experienced litigation attorney to find out whether or not your attorney has experience preparing for mediation proceedings.
As is true with any type of litigation or arbitration, you should thoroughly research your prospective mediator(s). Ask them for their qualifications and for references. As with attorneys, a mediation expert may also have experience representing the parties to the divorce in similar situations. If not, a litigation attorney may be able to refer you to a mediation expert who has experience with similar cases.
One area that will certainly come up at the start of the mediation process is child custody and visitation. Both you and your spouse should try to keep the discussions focused on your children’s best interest at all times. A good mediator will be able to explore any potential concerns your spouse has regarding child custody and visitation. This includes keeping the discussion positive and focused on the children.
It’s important to remember that child support and alimony decisions are made on an individual basis. The ability of the mediator to successfully handle this situation is dependent upon the parties. For example, if you’re receiving spousal support and want to seek a reduction in that amount, you may not be able to get your needs met through the use of a mediator. Always keep in mind that successful negotiation of child custody/visitation requires the input of both parties, which only a qualified attorney can provide.