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Working Through Custody and Parenting Time Mediations

January 2, 2018

Most states have altered the method in which they determine official custody of minor children in a divorce proceeding, and New York state is among those on the list. The days of merely assigning custody of the children to the mother are generally gone, even though that is where most dependent children eventually land primarily. Just as in other forms of civil court dealings, each case is unique in some aspect and specific facts can impact the court’s decision in lieu of a parenting agreement between the divorcing spouses. That is why it is so important to negotiate a parenting time arrangement in mediation during the process. Mediating divorces is actually the most popular trend in the contemporary court system, as it is urged by the court system to lessen the docket load for hearings. It allows both divorcing spouses an opportunity to show they are truly concerned about the welfare of their children in addition to having an informal format to discuss issues each parent may have before a visitation ruling is entered.

Mediation Eligibility

Some divorce cases could potentially be unsuitable for mediation, such as a case involving domestic violence or a standard typical visitation arrangement such as weekends with the non-custodial parent. Visitation orders can be an easy task sometimes. However, cases that involve extenuating circumstances could call for supervised visitation as well, so it is important to evaluate the case before actually beginning the mediation process. All parents do have visitation rights, but the court can place restrictions even when recognizing and allowing contact with either parent.

Potential Negotiation Topics 

A standard divorce mediation is usually between the spouses and a designated mediator who will listen to both sides and attempt to broker an agreement between the two parties. Spouses who have already retained legal counsel will possibly have their attorney there as well. Mediation is an informal process where no transcripts are recorded. It is an opportunity for open discussion about common divorce case issues like actual physical custody or potential joint custody of the dependent children. A successful mediation agreement will include the visitation schedule and conditions for transferring the children between the parents, especially when a parent lives outside of the state of New York. Financial obligations of the parents are also regularly stated in a mediated divorce agreement as well, but the court has the authority to adjust child support if the obligated parent is not paying a state required amount. A feasible agreement that is negotiated with little fanfare is much more acceptable to the court, and having an experienced New York divorce attorney ensuring all legal rights are addressed is very important.

How Mediation Can Avoid a Court Hearing

A divorce mediation that produces a good agreement for all parties involved can be an effective method of avoiding an actual custody hearing, which is a process that may result in impositions by the state regarding the children or some legal issue that becomes apparent during the hearing. The court is acting as advocate for the dependent children in a custody and visitation hearing. Children rarely have individual representation in a custody agreement during the time the divorce is being finalized, and the court is well aware that some facts are not revealed in a mediation agreement. The children have relationship rights just like the parents, and the court is primarily concerned with the children’s safety and support. Having a sound amicable custody and parenting plan entered into the record can be a plus for the entire family as the spouses get on with their lives.

Joint Custody Through Mediation

The dynamics of a joint custody parenting plan agreement can be different from a typical custodial parent assignment because there should be some established decision-making authority, even if that is a shared responsibility for each spouse. This can be even more important when any of the children are at medical risk or have a specific issue. Financial support responsibilities can change significantly with joint custody as well, and it is vital to stipulate these requirements in the joint custody parenting plan. Joint custody arrangements can be complicated when a parenting plan includes long-term stays with both parents to accurately divide the time spent with the children between both parents, along with potential extended family visitation.

Our divorce lawyers at Spodek Law Group in Long Island understand that being prepared when going to court for a divorce finalization is crucial for a positive outcome with all families being divided by a parental separation. We also understand that the best way to accomplish this legal task is through a comprehensive mediated divorce agreement that addresses all aspects of a custody arrangement and parenting time plan. Call us today or clique on our website and let us evaluate your divorce mediation outcome possibilities.

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