Ways to Avoid Going to Court for Custody / by Cassandra Hearn

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Divorce and separation is a taxing event, both emotionally and financially.  Custody battles are some of the most hard-fought and difficult cases because every parent places the well-being of the children above any other issue in the case.  Going to court for a custody matter means that you and the other parent are asking the judge to make intensely personal decisions about the way your family will be run for years to come based on only a few hours’ worth of evidence.  Settling a custody case before reaching a final hearing is a good way to help maintain control of your family and your own schedule.  There are several techniques and tips you can employ to try to avoid going to court for your custody case.

First, mediation can be a great tool to help you and the other parent settle your custody disputes. In mediation, you and the other parent will sit down with a neutral third party who will help the two of you find common ground.  The mediator will not force you to reach a settlement and will not make a recommendation to the court.  His or her job is only to help you reach a resolution that both of you agree is best for the children.

Second, remember to place your focus on what is best for the children.  Family law cases naturally involve high emotions, including anger and resentment at the other parent.  It is easy to fall into the trap of making a parenting proposal that is designed to spite the other parent instead of what is actually best for the child.  Doing your best to set aside those thoughts and focus instead on how to craft a parenting schedule that is best designed to help maximize the child’s time and bond with both parents is a good way to help create a custody settlement that both parents find agreeable.

Finally, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney about the realistic possible outcomes in your case if you have to go to court.  Understanding what is likely to happen if you were to submit your case to a judge can help you and the other parent create a parenting schedule that would reflect what would happen in court without actually having to go through the expense, heartache, and uncertainty that accompany child custody proceedings.

If you are facing a custody case, contact us today.  We can talk to you about your children, your goals, and how we can help you.