Michigan Child Custody Mediation

When mediating child custody issues, the best interest of the child or children is always paramount. Children need both of their parents and therefore co-parenting, according to the arrangement the parents agree upon through the mediation process, is the goal. Child Custody Mediation minimizes the likelihood that children will find themselves in the middle of the adults' dispute.

What is Child Custody Mediation all about?
Child mediation is the process of determining Legal and Physical Custody of minor children in a family. In Michigan it is required that the parties determine Legal Custody of a minor child. Legal custody is defined as both parties being entitled to equal access to the educational, medical, religious and other pertinent records of the child. The parties shall jointly determine the necessity of elective medical care of a major nature and shall make joint decisions on the religious upbringing of the child. The parties shall each be entitled to be informed of all parent/teacher conferences and all other activities (including sports) and/or school programs in which the parents are customarily involved. The parties shall each be entitled to receive copies of the child's report cards, medical records and current photographs.

Physical Custody is the actual time that a minor child spends with each parent. Therefore, it is important to determine not only the legal custody of a minor child but also the specific parenting time that the child spends with each parent. Child custody mediation is a process whereby both parents work with the mediator who is a neutral party that does not side with either parent but rather helps both parents create a parenting time schedule that is in the best interest of the minor child. By utilizing the mediation process to accomplish this goal, the process and agreement are created and controlled by the parents, not the Court.

How is Child Custody Mediation different from going to Court?
Child custody mediation is a process whereby the parents meet with a neutral mediator in a private setting in order to work out child custody and parenting time issues. In mediation the parents are the architects of all decisions regarding their minor children. In mediation the parents maintain control over how they are going to co-parent their minor children. In a Court setting the process is more formal and the decision is imposed upon the parents by the Court rather than allowing the parties to create their own resolutions regarding their own family. Given understanding that parents know more about their particular family situation and minor children than a Judge would gives the parents the opportunity to make the decisions they believe are in the best interest of their minor children.

Is it more expensive than going to court?
Mediation is generally far less expensive that traditional litigation.

How long does mediation take?
The length of time that it takes to mediate a particular issue is completely within the control of the parties participating in mediation. The mediation process requires the parties to participate with one another and work through the very important issues of how they are going to parent their children. Depending upon the number of issues and the seriousness of those issues mediation can take anywhere from several hours to several weeks. Each case is unique to the parties involved.

I can't be in the same room with the father of my children. Can we still mediate?
Keep in mind that a mediator is highly skilled at working toward an agreement with couples who can't communicate, encouraging both parties to put aside their personal issues and redirecting the focus on the children. However it is possible to mediate in separate sessions with the mediator. It should be noted, however, that not every case is appropriate for mediation and the mediator will determine whether or not your case is appropriate for the mediation process.

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