Child custody issues are often portrayed as dramatic court battles in movies and television. However, it doesn't have to be this way. There are other options to resolve custody matters that your divorce lawyer can explain to you, and one such avenue is mediation.

How Child Custody Mediation Works

You and your co-parent will work with an unbiased, independent third party to settle your custody issues during mediation. This third party, the mediator, must be someone who has no ties to you or your co-parent. A mediator who is familiar with you or your co-parent in any way could unfairly tilt the process to one side.

The mediator will offer potential resolutions to your problems, help you settle arguments, and tell you which custody laws apply in your case. You and your co-parent can and should bring your own custody attorney to these meetings, too. While the mediator will let you know which laws relate to your situation, they must remain impartial and can't offer either of you any legal advice.

Unlike in a traditional court setting, you and your co-parent can keep negotiating until you reach a custody agreement you both can live with. The judge will make the final decision if custody is decided in a court setting, taking control away from you.

The aim of mediation is to prompt and maintain a useful discussion that leads to the custody agreement that is best for your child. Contention is not the focus here. Instead, the negotiations are meant to be peaceful and productive.

How Mediation May Benefit You

Mediation for a child custody agreement can provide a variety of benefits. It's usually faster and less expensive than a battle in court, and it encourages negotiation rather than arguments. This court alternative is also more private since you are not airing your issues in a courtroom, and it gives you more control over what happens.

Make the Most Out of Mediation

Mediation works best if both parents make the most of this process. Having a custody lawyer on your side is useful because they will explain your rights and offer you advice. You'll also want to enter mediation with an open mind and willingness to compromise to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Consult with a divorce attorney if you think mediation could be a way to solve your custody matter. An attorney will review your case and advise you on whether this court alternative is likely to have a successful outcome in your situation.