Married couples in New York generally live together and each play a role in raising their children. One parent may work more than the other and one may spend more time with the children, but generally even parents are involved in their children's lives. This is why it can be so difficult when couples divorce. Parents are no longer able to see their children every day and this can be a difficult situation for both the parents and the children. So, child custody decisions can be very emotional.
Like most decisions in a divorce, child custody determinations can be made either by agreement of the parties or by trial and a judge will ultimately make the decision for them. While the couple may not immediately reach an agreement for child custody, it does not mean that they cannot eventually reach one and avoid trial and other forms of litigation. One option that parents have is to attempt divorce mediation to help facilitate discussion and hopefully help them reach agreements.
While mediation can be beneficial for all decisions that couples must make in a divorce, mediation has specific advantages for child custody determinations. One is that it is non-confrontational and confidential. This means that both parents can speak freely and are not simply trying to win a fight. The mediator is also specifically trained to facilitate child custody discussions and can help the parents focus on what is important. Also, if the parties are able to reach agreements, generally it means the parents will work with each other in the future which is beneficial for their children.
Child custody decisions in New York are never easy and can be very emotional decisions for both parents. However, if the parties can reach agreements it does have benefits and divorce mediation is a useful way to facilitate discussions between the parents. Ultimately these decisions are being made based on what is in the best interests of the children, not the parents, and mediators can keep parents focused. Experienced attorneys understand the legal aspects of child custody and may also be a useful resource.