Family Support Center

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Child Custody Disputes: Mediation and Good Co-Parenting Relationship

  Child Custody Agreement A child custody agreement is a document you can use to establish custody arrangements with your co-parent. A child custody agreement is used by parents to lay out the details of how they will co-parent their child or children together. The most effective child custody settlement comes from two parents working together to find the best to address all of the issues involved. When you sit down and work out all your custody issues yourselves and reach an agreement before the case needs to go to court. Types of child custody Custody refers to either legal or physical custody while visitation refers to time spent with the child. There are various types of child custody, legal custody, physical custody, joint custody and sole custody. Legal custody allows a parent to make major decisions about the child’s upbringing and well-being such as school, religion, healthcare, etc. physical custody involves the determinant of where a child lives on a day-to-day basis. Sole custody is an arrangement whereby only one parent has full custody of their child and the non custodial parent is awarded visitation rights. Joint custody or shared custody is when the child splits his or her time between the two parent’s homes. The most important consideration is what’s best for your child or children. Common issues in child custody cases Visitation disruptions are one of the most common types of custody issues. In some cases, parents disrupt visitation times if the other parent is not paying child support. In other cases a parent may fail to follow court orders such as dropping of the child at the agreed time or place. Visiting the child during the other parents scheduled time with the child. Intentionally failing to return the child at the predetermined time. Limiting the child’s telephone or online contact with the other parent. Parent relocations or parent child abduction. If the parent refuses to take calls or allow the child to speak with the other parent, this can quickly become a major issue. In some cases parents withhold information from the other parent about the child, especially medical or educational information. If the parents cannot agree on the child’s upbringing, they can go to mediation. The mediator will help them reach agreement.   Family mediation Family mediation helps parents come to agreements in custody arrangements for their children. They decide on custody and access arrangements. It helps separated or divorcing parents resolve a custody dispute and reach an agreement acceptable to both parties. If parents can reach agreement it may prevent unnecessary upheaval for the child or children and minimize conflict between the parties. Benefits of mediation Mediation works contrary to the adversarial system which increases trauma and escalates conflict detriment to the best interests of the children. The mediator can work with both parents separately if they do not want to be in the same space together. It is not separation or divorce in itself that inflicts psychological damage on children it is how it is handled and parents can continue to be actively involved in the lives of their children and cooperate to promote their safety and health after separation. Parental cooperation- Two parents who elect to cooperatively resolve issues related to their child without court intervention.

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