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Mediation for child custody and visitation disputes

Many of the legal battles that Florida parents fight over during a divorce proceeding involve child custody and visitation rights. Whether the legal system works more effectively for the mother or the father is completely dependent on which side you believe. However, because there have been complaints about how family law courts have handled particular cases there has been a push for increased use of mediation as an alternate way to resolve such disputes.

A recent study has shown that use of mediation to resolve child custody and visitation disputes resulted in the mothers and fathers actually working together in a more cordial fashion when it came to allowing for the other parent to be involved in the child's life. It also resulted in both parents working together on a parenting plan to achieve the goals that each felt would be best for the child.

There are certainly advantages to mediation in that mediation can be more cost effective and efficient method for resolving at least some of the issues that will be raised during the course of a child custody and visitation disputes. There is some flexibility in mediation that may not always be present during a court trial. Solutions may be tried that for one reason or another will never be raised in court. This is in part because decisions will be made jointly by the parties and not ultimately decided by a judge.

This is not to say every child custody and visitation dispute should be facilitated through mediation. Each dispute is separate and distinct and what may be an effective means of handling a dispute in one child's circumstances may not work in others. The relationship that both parents have with the child will be the determining factor as to what option should be used.

Whether going to trial or through a mediation process, parties would still be advised to seek the assistance and advice of competent counsel that understands Florida child custody and visitation laws and can provide guidance to all of the various options.

Source: Huffington Post, "How To Prevent Litigation In Divorce Disputes," by Robert Hughes, Jr., March 27, 2012

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