Mediation and Child CustodyPreparation for a Mediation Session

Preparing properly for a mediation session requires the help of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. Specific plans for custody must be developed, and both negotiable items as well as deal breakers must be identified. Put another way, you must know where to draw a line in the sand. This critical stage of litigation occurs early in the mediation process.

Your attorney should take the time to familiarize you with both the positive and negative aspects of mediation. Concerning the parenting issues involved, your attorney will assist you in developing an approach and position that facilitates a reasonable settlement. This is important because typically a mediator leans on the weaker party in order to influence that individual to give in and allow an agreement to be reached.

A complete understanding of mediation dynamics is also crucial. Role-playing is a good way to prepare for what you can expect and how you should react during mediation.

Mediation that Involves Child Custody Attorneys

Situations exist where involving custody attorneys in the mediation process is beneficial, such as hammering out the final details of an arrangement that the parties have already reached through negotiation. In situations where the parties have difficulty interacting or where domestic violence has occurred, custody attorneys can also be used to prevent the need for face-to-face meetings of the parties.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a rather new concept in the area of alternate dispute and involves the use of independent counsel by both parties as well as the use of the talents of counselors, psychologists, financial advisers and therapists to come up with an agreement of all the separate divorce issues in a “collaborative” setting. A requirement of this developing trend is that if an accord is not reached by the parties, the professionals and attorneys involved may not play a part in the subsequent divorce litigation. Since the costs associated with divorce litigation are increasing, collaborative divorce will most likely be attempted more often by parties who choose to put what is best for the family over their own personal agendas.

H. Van Smith
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Trusted Virginia Attorney Serving Richmond to Williamsburg