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Mediation may help parents make child custody decisions

Sometimes some of the toughest and most emotional decisions parents in Virginia must make when they are getting a divorce have to deal with child custody. It can be difficult to reconcile that there will be times when your child is not in your care, but will be in the care of your ex-spouse periodically. Moreover, such important decisions can be difficult to make if you and your ex-spouse still have hard feelings against one another.

However, in any child custody case, the best interests of the child must prevail. In fact, the "best interests of the child" is the legal standard that a court will use when making child custody rulings. Of course, not every child custody decision has to go to court. Sometimes, parents can agree to settle matters out-of-court through mediation.

In mediation, parents will work with a neutral mediator to develop a child custody and visitation plan. The mediator will facilitate discussions between parents, helping them talk things out so that a fair resolution can be made. Mediation has numerous advantages. It gives parents more control over the outcome of their child custody case. It can lead to a plan that is acceptable to both. By working as a team rather than adversaries, it can set the stage for positive communication moving forward. After all, even if two parents get divorced, they will both still have to work together to raise their child.

Not every child custody case has to be litigated. Alternative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation, could help parents who are going through a divorce make tough decisions in a civil manner. When parents have more of a say in their child custody and visitation schedule, they are more likely to be satisfied with it.

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Sevila, Saunders, Huddleston & White
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Leesburg, VA 20176

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