Alternative to Litigation in Child Custody Matters

When North Carolina parents separate or divorce, issues might arise in how to raise and co-parent their children. Some couples are unable to agree on some or all aspects of the co-parenting process and choose, instead, to seek out a resolution via court. Litigation is costly and time consuming and might not provide the best route to resolving the issues related to co-parenting.

The most recommended way to settle child custody disagreements, of course, is by talking them through. If the parents can figure out what is the best way to communicate and to make decisions about their children amicably, the process of co-parenting becomes much easier, since there is less tension involved. However, if parents struggle to solve their differences alone, there are other options available besides litigation.

Parents can choose to use the mediation process, where a mediator assists the parents in finding resolutions. Mediation is not binding and the lawyers representing each parent will need to draft formal agreements confirming their resolutions. Additionally, parents can go to co-parenting counseling, which can be ordered by the court, to guide them in the co-parenting process to make decisions about raising their children. This is usually ordered by the court if parents have tried to use the legal system too many times to solve smaller custody matters. Another process that is similar is co-parenting coordination, in which parents participate voluntarily.

Finally, parents can also choose to use collaborative law, a process in which collaborative lawyers are hired to represent each parent and the parents promise not to seek litigation at any point. In most cases, a parent would benefit from the guidance of a family law attorney throughout the process.

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