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Using mediation to resolve child custody issues

As many in Pennsylvania know, parents do not always see eye-to-eye when it comes to their children. If a couple is in the middle of a divorce, resolving child custody issues can be a challenge. When the parties are not able to agree, mediation may be a good alternative to litigation.

Preparing for mediation could help the process go more smoothly. It may be helpful to make a list of any issues where there is conflict to help keep the mediation moving in the right direction. It can be easy to get off the track otherwise. Additionally, it is often beneficial for each party to write down what they expect to get out of mediation, which could take the form of a proposed custody and visitation arrangement.

Each parent may consider sharing his or her list and proposed agreement with the other prior to mediation. It is possible that the parties could be closer to a resolution that they believed. It is even possible that certain points could be agreed upon prior to mediation. The fewer outstanding issues the parties have, the smoother the process may be.

Each parent has the right to be heard, and neither party should sign a child custody agreement with which he or she does not agree. If mediation does not resolve the issues, the matter can be taken to the Pennsylvania courts. In the end, it is the best interests of the children that matter, and a parent should feel free to avail him- or herself of every avenue available to achieve that goal.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Preparing for Child Custody Mediation", Caroline Choi, May 22, 2014

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