Family mediation is a process in which participants meet with a trained professional, usually a mediator, to discuss their concerns and work out solutions that are mutually acceptable. It is often far more cost-effective than litigation and the outcome can be enforceable in court as a legally binding court order. It is also more flexible in that it can allow for future changes whereas an order made by a judge is a one-off solution. This is a key consideration as families are likely to change over time, such as when children reach school age and need different arrangements or when one party moves to a new area.

Mediation sessions are held in private and all discussions, including those relating to children, are confidential. The mediator will encourage both parties to consider the welfare needs of any children involved in the case and help participants to find solutions that can address those needs.

While the process is generally less stressful than going to court, it can still be an emotional experience for many participants. The mediator will be able to help participants manage their emotions, and they will work hard to try and find solutions that will satisfy both sides. They will also help the couple to create plans that are likely to succeed in the long term.

It is important to remember that the goal of any custody arrangement is not about you – it is about what is in the best interests of your child(ren). This means both parents must be prepared to compromise and negotiate, and to be open to suggestions made by the other party. Both parties should always seek independent legal advice before and during the mediation process, and it is advisable to have your attorney review any agreement you may make.

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