Deciding child custody issues, in addition to being very difficult, is also traumatic and stressful.
When trying to figure out how to raise a child or children in two different homes, parents are often overwhelmed with a wide range of emotions. It is not unusual for parents to experience grief over the end of the relationship and sadness over not being with their child all of the time.
Mediation can help people to deal with many of the issues surrounding child custody in a constructive manner. When parents litigate custody, the focus is on how to gain the most powerful position in court. This can lead to additional anger, hurt and time delays. In mediation, on the other hand, parties focus on how to resolve issues in order to create the best possible future for themselves and their children.
Frequently Asked Questions About Custody Mediation
1. How long does a custody mediation take?
Depending on the complexity of the matter, a custody mediation may take anywhere from 3 hours to 9 hours. It is not unusual for parents to resolve their issues in a single session.
2. Do I need to do anything to prepare for the mediation?
Yes. It’s a good idea to do some research on different custodial plans (e.g., week on/week off or ways of dividing a week) as well as plans tailored to a child’s developmental age. There are many resources for this on the internet.
3. What happens once the parties reach an agreement?
Agreements are put in writing and signed by the parties. An agreement reached in mediation can be used by the parties to help them file the necessary papers with the court to obtain an order.
Why Mediate Custody:
There are many reasons to try mediation in custody matters. Mediation:
- empowers people to make their own decisions rather than allowing others to make decisions for them
- is faster and much less expensive than litigation
- aids parties in understanding and dealing with the many details surrounding child custody
- allows parties to let go of the past and focus on the best possible future
- helps parties maintain their dignity
- grants parties the opportunity for a fresh start
- increases the likelihood that both parties will follow the agreement reached
- lays foundation for the parties’ parenting relationship
- for custody is mandated in larger Nevada jurisdictions
Margaret is familiar with the issues people face in child custody matters.
– Has three children, so she understands what it means to be a parent
Margaret has served as a pro tem (substitute) Family Court Master for Washoe County. Court masters hear cases and perform the same functions as judges. When Margaret sits as a master, her role is very different than when she acts as a mediator. Masters make decisions; mediators empower parties to make their own decisions. Sitting as a master gives Margaret a deep understanding of the Washoe County’s Family Court.
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