Four Commonly Overlooked Issues In Mediated Custody Disputes
Mediation is a great way to resolve the issues of a divorce without the need for a long and bitter courtroom battle. Mediators, though, do not give legal advice. They only foster compromise so the divorcing couple can reach an agreement. As such, couples often overlook certain issues that a judge would address in family court. Below are four of the most commonly overlooked issues in mediated custody disputes that you should always resolve before a final agreement is drafted.
Child Support Duration
When one person receives the majority of the time spent with the children, the other parent typically pays child support. Child support is intended to cover the costs of raising the child, such as their healthcare needs as well as their daily expenses. While parents may reach an agreement about who will pay child support, and the amount, many forget to include the duration of child support. A judge may send the agreement back to include the length of child support, but that will unnecessarily delay the divorce case.
Parents are required to support their children financially until they reach 18 years of age. As such, your agreement should stipulate that child support will last at least until this time. You may also want to agree that child support will be paid until the child graduates college, or until they turn 21. The right duration for your case will depend on your specific circumstances, but it is important to determine what it is.
The Preference of the Child
If your case were to go to court, a family law judge would consider the child’s preference if they are 14 years of age or older. As such, it is important to use the same parameters during mediation, too. It can lead to an easier post-divorce life for the child, and help make the transition more peaceful once the divorce is final.
Holidays, Summer Vacations, Special Occasions
When thinking about child custody, the time you spend with your child on a day-to-day basis may be top of mind. However, you should also remember to include special occasions such as holidays, summer vacations, and birthdays when creating the custody schedule. These events will happen every year and they will proceed much more smoothly if you do not have to engage in a custody battle first.
Contacting the Child During Visitation
Sometimes, people do not want their children contacting the other parent during their visitation time with them. This is unwise and damaging to the children. On the other hand, parents should not expect their children to contact them so often while visiting their former spouse that it interferes with visitation time. Parenting plans should always include how often a child can contact the other parent during visitation time, and how that communication will work.
Our Family Lawyer in Media Can Help with Your Custody Issues
If you are going through a child custody dispute, our Media family lawyer at Barbara Flum Stein & Associates can help. Our seasoned attorney will make sure your agreement includes all the necessary terms so you do not face future disputes. Call us now at 610-565-6100 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.