When considering a divorce where children are involved, the thought of going to court and fighting over custody in front of a judge is a frightening one. Traditional court battles over custody can leave parents feeling a bit helpless because the final say on how custody is to be determined is largely out of their control.
Alternative dispute resolutions offer parents the security of being able to work out an agreement on child custody without having to go through the complex and expensive legal channel.
What can be decided with alternative dispute resolutions?
This is a cooperative effort and typically involves the divorcing couple resolving divorce issues with the help of a mediator.
Through this method, parents can cooperatively resolve issues such as:
- Where the child/children will live (physical custody)
- Who is involved in parenting decisions (legal custody)
- Visitation schedules with the non-custodial parent
This parenting agreement can be resolved outside the court. But if one party is not willing to cooperate, the disputed matter may require a child custody order from a judge who will then make the decision in the best interest of the child/children.
Alternative dispute resolutions in special cases
In cases of abuse, where one spouse was abused by the other, or in cases of drug addiction, where one parent is involved in drug or alcohol abuse, alternative dispute resolutions may not be the most effective method. Mediation can still help parents settle custody issues in these cases, but the safety of the abused parent and the need for clarity and cooperation in instances of drug and alcohol abuse can create a difficult environment for settling child custody.
A good alternative
Alternative dispute resolutions offer an alternative to settling custody issues outside the traditional court setting. Through alternative dispute resolutions, parents take control and work together to decide custody issues.