A previous post on this blog encouraged parents who are going through a divorce, separation or, for that matter, any child custody proceeding to take the steps they need to take in order to get along.
As this blog has stated several times, when parents can come to reasonable agreements about custody, parenting time and the like, things generally go better both for them and, especially, their children.
The previous post mentioned several ways in which parents in the Cleveland area who may need a little help coming to an agreement about custody or parenting time can get that assistance as part of their divorce. As a word of caution, though, these means almost require that both parents be willing to listen to other perspectives and compromise their own positions.
The basic principle of compromise is behind both collaborative law and mediation. However, these two processes work a bit differently.
With respect to collaborative divorce, the parties and the attorneys themselves make an agreement that they will work together to come up with solutions that best suit their situation and the needs of their children. This is in lieu of each parent trying to pursue his or her own interest, which, in custody cases, usually means trying to get more time with the children than the other parent.
Information is supposed to be exchanged freely, and the parties are supposed to be candid about their strengths and weaknesses as parents. While either parent is free to walk away from the table at any time, if they take that route, both parents must get new attorneys.
Mediation, on the other hand, involves the parents agreeing to, or having the court appoint, a third party who is usually an attorney or some other person with knowledge and experience with respect to child custody. This person will in confidence try to sit down with the parents and help them negotiate a suitable custody plan.