A custody mediation is a guided conversation between parents regarding child custody. The primary goal and purpose of a custody mediation is to allow parties to meet together to share information and make decisions in an attempt to avoid having a trial.
Once a custody case has been filed, unless waived by the judge, the parents of the children and anyone else making a legal claim for custody of the children are required to attend a custody mediation. A judge may waive mediation for the following reasons:
• The parties reside more than fifty (50) miles from the court;
• The other party has displayed abusive behavior towards you or your child;
• The other party suffers from drug or alcohol addiction;
• The other party suffers from severe mental health problems; or
• The parties have agreed to private mediation.
Parties should inquire about signing up for mediation when they file their custody case as the process can vary by county. Once parties have signed up for mediation and attended a required orientation class, a mediation session of up to two hours will be scheduled. The session is facilitated through a neutral third party employed by the court, also known as a mediator. Mediators are trained to help parents through the difficulties of child custody. The mediator does not make any decisions regarding child custody, they are simply present to help guide the parties through the discussion.
Mediation sessions are private. Details of the discussion are not shared by the mediator with outside parties or the judge unless the mediator has concerns about unreported child abuse, hears threats to harm someone, or witnesses a crime. If the parties are not able to reach a mediation agreement, another session can be scheduled at the discretion of the mediator. If there is no agreement in mediation, the case will need to be scheduled for trial.
If the parties can reach an agreement while in mediation, the mediator will prepare a written Parenting Agreement for the parties and their attorneys to review and sign. Once all parties sign the agreement, a judge will review and sign the agreement. Once signed by a judge, a Parenting Agreement is a legally binding court order.
We at King Law know how important your child custody case is, and we want to empathize with the way you may be feeling about your circumstances. Our legal team is friendly and compassionate, and we dedicate ourselves to treating our clients well and leading them through every step of the legal process. We’re licensed to practice family law in North and South Carolina, so you know we have the qualifications and abilities to argue a case well. If you are involved in a child custody matter and need representation or simply have general questions, we may be able to assist you in your case. If you think we may be able to help, please call us at (888) 748-KING or complete our contact form at your earliest convenience.