When you think of your children, you may immediately experience a warm feeling of love for them. Because you care about your kids so much and only want the best for them, that warm feeling may also come with a tinge of guilt over the fact that you and the other parent have chosen to divorce.
Understandably, you may worry about what effects the divorce will have on your children and whether the child custody proceedings will turn in to a nightmarish affair. Luckily, your custody proceedings do not have to go through a formal courtroom process. Instead, you may want to consider mediating any custody disputes.
Mediation instead of litigation
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that could allow you and the other parent to work with an unbiased, professional third party to reach a custody agreement. Because the mediator has no direct interest in the case, he or she can help keep negotiations on track and work toward the best outcome for everyone involved.
Mediation is also a less adversarial approach to conflict resolution than litigation. Rather than you and the other parent sitting on opposite sides of the courtroom and arguing your sides in front of a judge, mediation allows you to work together. Because this process can feel less intimidating, it may give you the confidence you need to speak up about your wishes for custody.
Maintaining a parental relationship
If you can work together throughout mediation to come to beneficial custody arrangements, you may also see that you and the other parent have the ability to continue working together as parents for the sake of the kids. Going through a less adversarial process to reach custody terms sets a less adversarial tone for your ongoing parental relationship.
Mediation often allows the parties to reach resolutions more quickly than litigation. As a result, you and the other parent may find yourselves fighting less while also having to spend less time hashing out issues.
Of course, even though mediation takes place outside of the courtroom, it does not mean that you could not benefit from professional legal counsel. Your attorney can help you choose a mediator, explain Pennsylvania custody laws and help you throughout your negotiations. Having a legal advocate on your side could allow you to feel more confident in working toward the best custody terms possible.