Child Custody/Support

 

Child Custody and Child Support issues range from initial filings to modifications or enforcements of prior orders. Each of these has different fact patterns that requires flexibility in mediation.


Initial filings could be people who are married but have temporarily separated and want to get orders in place for their children. They could be couples who never married and have now decided to go their own way but need orders in place for the children.

In either case with initial child custody and child support filings this separation is new for both of the parties and the children. The parties have difficulty understanding how things will change and what will work for all involved. An experienced mediator can delve into the situation and evaluate each parties needs in order to try and ensure meets their unique situation. Considerations in this regard are not just about the parties and their availability to see their kids, but also about parenting styles, children’s flexibility, co-parenting skills, and many other fact specific issues. Learning all of these factors allows the mediator to use her creativity to assist the parties in developing an Order customized to their needs.

Modifying the Order

Modifications occur when something needs to change about a prior order for various reasons. Perhaps the prior visitation schedule did not work. Perhaps the prior decision making is not working. Perhaps child support should be adjusted. There are many different facets that can be modified until the child attains the age of 18 or graduates from high school that may need to be adjusted.

To have a successful mediation in a modification, the mediator will learn from both sides about why the prior order does not work for their current situation. An understanding of the changed circumstances helps the mediator in figuring out what will benefit the parties going forward. Again using that information allows the mediator to suggest some creative solutions to the issues and help the parties to craft a solution that will work for them.

What are enforcements?

Enforcements are when someone did not follow through with what the Order stated and now is seeking the Court to enforce that Order. Though it is rare to mediate an enforcement case, these are done in conjunction with a modification. Typically the enforcement will be filed first and after the party is served with the enforcement action they will file a counter-petition to modify the prior order. When this occurs it creates two trials because there is a trial for the enforcement and a trial for the modification. Often times the parties will agree to mediate both issues to save the time and expense of two trials.

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