Custody Mediation: Deciding Together

A Joint Decision

Custody Mediation: Deciding Together

Child custody is one of the most contested family law issues in New Jersey. Because custody can affect many things—such as the child’s upbringing, the parent’s role in caregiving, and even child support in New Jersey—it tends to incite strong feelings in parents. Many parents take their custody cases to court, commencing litigation. In court, both parents present their argument for the custody arrangement they want, and then the judge decides what is best for the child. It’s impersonal considering the extremely personal nature of custody. But there are alternatives to litigation. Custody mediation is one of them.

If you want what’s best for your child and can cooperate with the other parent, custody mediation might be for you. Mediation differs from litigation in that a child’s parents decide on custody rather than asking the judge to decide. Naturally, many parents experience conflict when deciding who gets custody, but the mediation method is designed to work through that conflict to reach mutually beneficial solutions.

The Process

In custody mediation, both parents work with a professional (the mediator) on making important decisions. The mediator is neutral, a third-party to the conflict. The mediator does not take sides or decide for the parents. But the mediator plays a crucial role. When parents in mediation reach a stalemate or otherwise are unable to move forward in negotiations, the mediator steps in to guide them through the process. Many parents turn to litigation when they can’t work through conflict on their own. Mediators are specifically trained in helping parents move beyond conflict to reach an agreement.

If you are interested in custody mediation, it’s important to know that the mediator cannot give you legal advice as it would be a conflict of interest. If you want legal guidance on custody, speak with a New Jersey child custody attorney in your area. Many parents still need attorney representation throughout the mediation process. While mediation allows you to make your own decisions, those decisions—ultimately—must be approved by the court to be enforceable. The court will not approve a custody arrangement that is not in the child’s best interests, so it is worth it to consult with an attorney who can explain how New Jersey custody works and the options you have. Reaching an agreement in mediation is useless if the agreement is rejected by the court.

If you need child custody guidance in New Jersey, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced child custody attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you get the outcome you want. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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