No one "wins" when a family goes through the stress, contention and expense of a courtroom battle over child custody. A divorce exerts its own measure of chaos and anxiety on a family without adding anything else into the mix.
You may be among the many couples here in Ohio who realize this and want to make the process easier on your children by avoiding the courtroom if possible. This means working with the other parent, which may make you nervous since your personal relationship isn't at its best. A viable solution may be to use mediation to help you reach a child custody agreement.
How could using mediation benefit you and your family?
Understanding that you need to put aside your emotions and focus on the best interests of your child may not be enough to keep your negotiations on track. You are probably practical enough to realize that you could end up arguing over certain points, which could cause the situation to degrade into a confrontation. Mediation could help with that since a neutral third party could help end disagreements and get you back on track. Other benefits include those below:
- You and the other parent retain control over the outcome since you make all of the decisions.
- You and the other parent are more likely to follow through with the terms of the agreement since you both helped create it.
- The process often takes less time than a courtroom battle.
- The process usually costs less than going to court.
- You enjoy the privacy you would not receive by hashing out your differences in an open courtroom and on the record.
Another benefit that you and the other parent may take advantage of is the fact that you can explore custody arrangements that are "outside the box." The court is limited in the actions it can take regarding child custody, but when you create your own agreement, the court only reviews it to make sure that it serves the best interests of the children. As long as it meets that criteria, seems practical and you both agree to it, the court should approve your arrangements.
Even if the court does not approve your agreement, the judge will probably tell you what aspects he or she does not agree with, and you could go back to the negotiation table to tweak whatever terms the court may object to in your agreement. Then all you would need to do is resubmit it for approval. Ultimately, everyone involved simply wants to ensure that your children have the best chance possible at a secure and happy future that involves both parents.