What is custody mediation?
If you and your spouse are North Carolina residents thinking about getting a divorce, your biggest concern probably is your children. You want your children to be able to adjust to the new family structure as quickly and easily as possible. If, however, you and your spouse are having disagreements about custody, visitation, child support or any other matter regarding your divorce, mediation may be the best way for you to resolve your differences in a civilized, cooperative manner that will best serve your children.
As the North Carolina State Bar explains, mediation is a process whereby a neutral third party, the mediator, helps you and your spouse discuss your issues and arrive at mutually satisfactory resolutions. Mediation is less stressful and usually less expensive than fighting in front of a judge and letting him or her decide “winners” and “losers.”
The mediation process
An important thing to remember about mediation is that your mediator does not make decisions. You and your spouse do that. The mediator is there only to help you do it by making sure that each of you has the opportunity to voice your concerns in a non-threatening atmosphere. In addition, mediation is flexible. Some mediations can be concluded in a day or two while others may take longer if you have many issues to resolve. You receive the help you need only as long as you need it.
Finally, mediation is civil and dignified. Fighting, open hostility, and recriminations are not allowed. The whole process of mutual cooperation and putting the best interests of your children ahead of your marital disputes often gives parents a new understanding of how to address irritations before they become major issues. This can have a lasting effect on the way in which you treat and communicate with each other from now on.
This information should not be taken as legal advice. It can, however, help you understand the mediation process and what to expect from it.