How does child custody mediation work in Massachusetts?

parents fighting over child

When parents make the difficult decision to dissolve their marriage, they are burdened with addressing a range of legal matters to determine the terms that will apply to the termination of their marriage. These terms include child and spousal support, property division, and custody. While all of these issues can be challenging, child custody is one of the most contentious issues, as each party’s valuable parenting time is at stake. Determining a custody arrangement can be a complex and costly process for families, so finding ways to resolve disputes outside the courtroom is crucial. One practical approach to resolving custody disputes without litigation is child custody mediation. If you’re facing a custody battle, it’s in your best interest to seek guidance from our adept Bristol County Child Custody Lawyers, who can help you protect your child’s best interests. Please continue reading to learn how child custody mediation works in Massachusetts. 

What is child custody mediation?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process that involves a third-party mediator who aids divorcing parties in negotiating a settlement regarding the terms that will apply to the termination of their marriage. During this process, the mediator does not make decisions or impose solutions. Instead, during multiple sessions, they will help facilitate discussions between parties to reach a mutually agreeable outcome.

Child custody mediation is a specific type of mediation that helps parents negotiate custodial rights, visitation, child support, and other areas of concern related to their children. This type of mediation can be court-ordered or voluntary. In either case, it can help parents devise a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interests, ensure that the child is allowed time with both parents and provide parents with various tools for dealing with disagreements to minimize future conflicts. If the parties can reach an agreement, it will typically go to the judge to sign off before it can become a court order.

What are the benefits of pursuing mediation in Massachusetts?

There are numerous benefits to pursuing mediation. The mediation process can offer parents a solution more quickly than any trial. A trial can take months or years to settle. This means this process can be significantly less expensive than working through the courts. In addition, during mediation, both parents have control over the terms that will apply to the termination of their marriage. If they can’t work together to reach an agreement, the judge will make the decisions, which can lead to unfavorable divorce terms. Furthermore, unlike court proceedings, mediation is confidential. Knowing that what occurs in mediation will not become a public record encourages parents to speak freely about their opinions and concerns.

If you’re headed for divorce, please don’t hesitate to contact a skilled lawyer from The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C., who can help you navigate the meditation process and make the best choices for your situation.