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Is mediation a way to deal with disputes over parenting time?

Divorcing Colorado parents in the middle of a dispute over visitation rights might have tried many different avenues to settle matters and come to a consensus without success. If this is the situation, and the couple wants to negotiate, rather than go to court, mediation is an alternative process to consider. Understanding how mediation works, and if it is right for the circumstances is step one before moving forward.

With mediation, the parents will state their case in front of a neutral third party, known as the mediator. This mediator will listen to both sides and help in providing potential solutions, while trying to get each party to understand the position of the other. The goal is to give the parents a say in how the parenting time is allocated so each thinks they are getting something they want.

There is a difference between a mediator and a judge, as only a judge can issue a binding order. The mediator will help with the process, but is not legally allowed to force any agreement on either side.

When considering a mediator, it is important to know whether the issues that are causing the discord are negotiable. In many cases, the parents are so disagreeable and the case so acrimonious that they will not even agree as to the weather, let alone how to deal with the child. In such an instance, perhaps, mediation is not the preferable solution. But, it is also important to know that the discussion is held in private, and it cannot be used in a court proceeding.

Should an agreement come about, the mediator will write it up. When it is signed, this will be done before a notary public and notarized. The couple will then send it to the court to make it official. While many cases cannot be settled via mediation, parents who have the willingness to listen to the other parent's viewpoint and can be flexible, could benefit from mediation. A law firm that understands all areas of child custody, visitation rights and parenting time can help in deciding if mediation is the right method to use to settle a dispute.

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