Who is Eligible to Participate in Child Custody Mediation? 

The majority of states require that parents in a divorce case participate in child custody mediation before the judge makes any decisions on the case. It’s a good idea for both parents to attend mediation in order to avoid having their case drag out in court and to save money, time and stress by resolving the dispute outside of a courtroom. 

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Who is Eligible to Participate in Custody Mediation?

Generally, anyone who can show that they have legal custody or visitation rights over a child can participate in custody mediation. However, in some cases, it’s important to check with a family law attorney in your state before participating in this process. 

In a custody dispute, both parents are often required to attend mediation and to meet with a neutral party (the mediator) to try to reach an agreement on issues such as custody, parenting time, visitation schedules and financial support. A mediation session typically lasts two to three hours and is held in a private room at a local courthouse or online. 

It’s important to choose a qualified and experienced mediator who is familiar with the laws of your state. Some mediators are licensed attorneys who have specialized in family law, while others may be marriage and family therapists, psychologists or social workers with a background in custody matters. 

There are several ways to find a qualified mediator, but a word-of-mouth referral from a friend or family member is often the most effective. It’s also worth doing a little research on the internet to learn about the qualifications of potential mediators and to find out what kind of experience they have in resolving child custody disputes. 

You should also ask to attend a parent orientation class at your local courthouse or an online course before you participate in child custody mediation. The parent orientation class is free and will take about one hour. It will provide you with an overview of what is expected during the mediation process and answer any questions you might have. 

Once you have completed the parent orientation class, you can then proceed to participate in mediation. During mediation, you’ll sit down with a trained mediator to discuss your specific concerns and goals. Your mediator will be a neutral party who is not emotionally invested in either side and can help you come to an agreement that works best for you and your family. 

Your mediator will ask you to fill out a questionnaire that includes information about yourself and your children. He or she will review the answers and make recommendations. These recommendations will then be used as a basis for reaching an agreement about custody and visitation. 

If you have reached an agreement during the mediation process, the mediator will prepare a “Memorandum of Understanding” that can be filed with the court in order to be finalized. This document is a legal document that must be signed by the parties to the mediation agreement and will become a part of your case.