EVERY CHILD DESERVES A VOICE
No one benefits from a long, drawn out custody battle, especially children. There are various alternatives to traditional litigation, which encourage amicable resolution of pending disputes while keeping the focus on your child, such as guardian ad litem appointments, custody mediation, case management and collaborative law. The utilization of such services greatly minimizes the likelihood of an ugly legal battle and the ill effects such a battle can cause to your child.
Guardian Ad Litem Appointments
A guardian ad litem (GAL) is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the child. A GAL is responsible for completing an independent investigation to include making ongoing contact with the child, the child’s parents, the school, therapists and others. (Click here for more information on GAL)
Experienced Case Management
Case management is a mechanism to help parents overcome communication barriers and work together to resolve disputes. A case manager may be appointed by the court in a high conflict custody dispute. A case manager is responsible for providing services, other than mediation, to help facilitate cooperative parenting. When a dispute arises between co-parents, case management offers an excellent alternative to court involvement.
Case managers help facilitate agreements between co-parents. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case manager will take the knowledge he or she has learned and make a recommendation to the court.
Is case management appropriate for my case?
Your case may be a good fit for case management if:
Custody mediation is a process by which a neutral third party works with both parents to facilitate parenting agreements. With the consent of both parents, financial issues may be discussed in the mediation process as well. Everything discussed during mediation is confidential.
The mediation process usually consists of one individual session with each parent in which issues will be outlined as well as one or two joint sessions with both parties. Alternative arrangements can be made if necessary. At the conclusion of the mediation process, if an agreement is reached, the mediator will journalize that agreement and submit to the parties and counsel, if applicable, for approval. A mediated agreement does not become binding until signed by both parties and, most importantly, approved by the court.
If you are considering divorce and have concerns about “going to court,” collaborative law offers a structured alternative to the court room.
Collaborative law encourages settlement outside of court. In the collaborative law process, each party is represented by their own attorney. The attorneys and clients sign a participation agreement which stipulates both attorneys will withdraw from the case if the parties are unable to reach settlement.
By creating a cooperative environment, parties can diligently work towards reaching agreements which are in the best interest of their child(ren), rather than preparing for a potentially lengthy court battle.