Child Custody Mediation
Child custody mediation is a voluntary method of resolving a legal dispute regarding the issue of
a parenting plan that is in "the children's best interests." When parents divorce or separate,
agreements must be reached regarding appropriate time-sharing plans for children. Child custody
mediation is a private settlement process that emphasizes informed decision-making and the
facilitation of mutually acceptable agreements. Research has shown that mediated settlements to
child custody disputes leads to lower co-parenting conflict in parents who mediated, rather than
litigated custody, and encourages both parents to remain in their children's lives after divorce.
Child custody mediation assists parents in identifying their common underlying interests in the
positive growth and development of their children.
In mediation sessions, Dr. Pickar provides a safe place for parents to engage in the difficult work
of devising a post-separation parenting plan agreement for the children. Each parent is helped to
clarify their particular wishes for their children, but respectful communication and understanding
of the other parents' interests and point of view is also an essential part of the mediation
process. Dr. Pickar helps parents clarify their areas of agreement and disagreement, assists them
to resolve areas of conflict, and to consider various options for reaching a parenting plan
Issues that might need to be mediated as part of a parenting plan agreement include:
- Time-share schedule for children
- Holiday and vacation time with the children
- Decisions regarding education, healthcare, religious observance, mental health care
- Methods for co-parent communication
- Tailoring agreements to unusual parental work schedules
- Devising future, developmentally appropriate parenting plan adjustments to take place as
children get older
- Depending on the age of the child, possibly interviewing the child(ren) to learn of their
views on parental relationships and parenting plan arrangements
Mediation is confidential, but if a settlement is reached, Dr. Pickar can provide a written
parenting plan agreement to the parents, which can then be given to their attorney to serve as the
basis for a court order.
Fees for Mediation are $250 per hour, which includes direct meetings and time spent writing
parenting plan agreements.