How To Keep Your Child Custody Case Out Of Court
Few things are more stressful than handing a judge that you don’t know the power to decide whether you get to retain custody of your child and how often you will get to see them. Many people have heard horror stories about child custody hearings gone wrong, or about how contentious the process was, as well as the negative mental health and developmental effects it can have on those involved. What you might not know is that many child custody cases never have to see the inside of a courtroom. In fact, going to court is always the last resort. In this article we’ll look at some of the alternatives to litigation and whether they might be the right fit for you.
Come to An Agreement on Your Own
The most cost effective solution for most parents is to simply decide on the terms of their child custody agreement and parenting plan on their own. Even if they are only able to reach resolutions on some of the key issues, it will still reduce the amount of time that needs to be spent in court as those issues will no longer need to be litigated. While it may be hard to reach agreements with someone that you have a contentious and emotionally-charged relationship with, there is a great deal of motivation to do so. Reaching an agreement on your own gives you the most control over the outcome, saves you a lot of money, and expedites the entire divorce and custody process, allowing you both to move on with your lives. Of course, this is not always a practical solution.
Child Custody Mediation
If you like the idea of reaching a custody agreement with your co-parent but do not think that you will be able to do so on your own, child custody mediation is a great alternative. This allows co-parents to arrive at mutually-agreeable terms while guided by a neutral third-party mediator who is trained in dispute resolution. Mediation has a high success rate, and if it doesn’t result in resolution on all issues, you do not lose your progress. Rather, any progress you made will come with you to court, and the remaining issues can be litigated.
Collaborative Child Custody
Collaboration is another alternative to court. In this process, each party is represented by an attorney. Their attorneys will advocate for their interests and engage in a back-and-forth negotiation to arrive at child custody and parenting plan terms that both parties accept. For some co-parents, the distance created by having an attorney doing the communicating can be very helpful, and can reduce some of the emotions and frustration that would otherwise enter the process. If collaborative child custody negotiations do not succeed, it is important to note that the process must start over completely with new legal counsel in court.
Contact the Greater Orlando Family Law Firm
If you are dealing with an upcoming child custody hearing and want to avoid the courtroom, the experienced Orlando divorce attorneys at the Greater Orlando Family Law Firm will help you determine the best path forward for you and your family. Contact the Greater Orlando Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.