When parents are no longer together, child custody becomes a crucial issue that must be addressed. In situations where both parents cannot come to an agreement, they may consider either mediation or litigation. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, and it’s essential to understand them before making a final decision.
Mediation is a process where a trained mediator is appointed to help both parents come to an agreement about child custody. Mediators are typically neutral third-party professionals, who do not take sides and are not working for either parent. During mediation, parents have the opportunity to sit down with the mediator to discuss custody issues, and come to a resolution. Mediation is an effective and less expensive way to settle child custody disputes without having to go to court. Furthermore, mediation can help maintain a parent’s relationship with the child as it does not demonize one parent in court.
In litigation, a judge will decide on child custody matters. This approach occurs when parents cannot come to an agreement. The judge will hear arguments from both sides and make a final decision based on what they believe to be in the best interest of the child. Litigation can be costly, lengthy and stressful, but the decision of the court is legally binding. In some cases, litigation is the only option when one parent believes that mediation would not bring out the best interests for the child.
When deciding between mediation or litigation, it is essential to consider the emotional impact on children. Mediation focuses on resolving conflicts without damage to the individual relationships, reducing the trauma for children. Litigation can cause emotional damage to children who may feel caught in the middle of their parents quarrel. It’s also important to consider the financial implications of either process; mediation is less expensive, while litigation can cause significant financial costs.
In conclusion, whether a parent chooses mediation or litigation, it’s crucial to remain focused on the child’s best interests. Parents must be willing to cooperate and compromise. In situations where compromise is not possible, litigation may be the only option. Despite the approach chosen, parents should keep in mind the long-term impact of their decisions of their children’s lives. Parents who opt for mediation, in general, have a lower conflict after the child custody settlement, better relationships with their child, and are more likely to cooperate in raising the child. Ultimately, the well-being of the child should always be the priority in determining child custody.