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3 simple reasons to handle custody in mediation, not court

Divorcing couples often disagree on many of the critical points regarding the end of the marriage. Both spouses may have their own ideas about how to fairly divide assets and debts. It's also common to disagree about the best way to handle child custody, visitation and parental responsibilities.

Just because you disagree right now on the terms of your divorce doesn't mean you're doomed to head to divorce court for protracted and expensive hearings. Even if you and your ex have strong negative feelings about your marriage and divorce, you may still be able to find a resolution in mediation for custody issues. Preparing yourself and adjusting your attitude to focus on your children is often the key to success in negotiating a working mediation resolution for custody.

Mediation allows for privacy regarding your negotiations

Do you plan to leverage behavioral or parenting issues your ex has had in the past to get a better custody outcome? Do you worry about what your ex may say about you and your habits in a custody hearing? Is there information you would prefer that your children never hear about your marriage?

Once you testify about an issue in court, that information becomes part of the public record. That means anyone, from your children when they're adults to your employer, could look up a transcript and read all the private details of your custody hearing. If you manage these issues in mediation, on the other hand, everything you say remains private and confidential.

Your children won't have to testify during mediation

One of the most difficult parts of any divorce custody hearing for the children involved is often the requirement to provide input on preferences for living situations. Children may feel pressured to pick one or the other, and may worry about losing the love and support of the other parent after they do make a choice.

Mediation, thankfully, does not require that your children get involved in the custody proceedings. Instead, you and your ex, along with your individual attorneys, sit down with a neutral third party to try to find a solution to your custody issues that works well for everyone involved, especially the children. Not only is this often faster than court, it also removes a major source of stress for your children.

You have more control over the details of your parenting plan

You and your ex both have a better understanding of your own schedules, needs and abilities than the courts will have. That means you are in a better position to create a thorough, accurate and workable parenting plan than a stranger with the courts would be.

So long as you can compromise on certain issues, you will be able to secure victories on other issues that matter a lot to you. Mediation can empower you and your ex to create a functional parenting plan that offers benefits for you both, as well as for your children.

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  • Best Readers Choice Awards Of Essex | 2018
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Melissa Cipriano: Honored as a "Best of New Jersey Among our Most Distinguished Americans of Italian Descent" and conferred the "Stivale D'Italia Award of Excellence" by the Italian Tribune for her "honesty, integrity and dedication to fair and ethical business practices" and her "outstanding reputation as a Woman Whose Word is Her Bond".

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