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Custody/Parental Agreements

Custody/Parental Agreements

No Lawyers Necessary

Friend of the Court allows parents to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve issues they may have involving custody, parenting time, and/or child support. In fact, some courts require parents to participate in ADR first, before attending court hearings or referee meetings. Mediation is a form of ADR that is acceptable in Michigan courts. A mediator can assist parents with creating settlement agreements that can be submitted to the court for the judges approval and issuance of final orders.

Is Mediation Right for You

Before contacting a mediator, please be sure the following statements are true:

  1. If not married, paternity has been confirmed.

  2. We have attended or are scheduled to attend the required parenting class.

  3. Our goal is to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of the child/ren.

  4. We both agree that mediation is an appropriate option for our case.

What's Included

Mediation Services consist of the following:

  1. One (1) hour virtual sessions* that cover these major topics:

    1. Custody/Parenting Plan

    2. Child Support

  2. thoroughly written parental agreement that can be submitted to the court for approval.

*Please note that the number of sessions needed is determined by the complexity of the case

Pros and Cons of Mediation

Mediation has many benefits over traditional family court proceedings:

  1. Agreements are reached faster, especially if you agree about the majority of issues.

  2. Mediation is more affordable and reduces time off work, court fees, and attorney fees.

  3. What happens in mediation, stays in mediation.  All settlement discussions are confidential.

  4. As parents, you maintain full control over the terms of your parental agreement, avoiding court imposed solutions that neither parent supports.

  5. Mediation can help parents avoid adversarial court proceedings, which can foster more positive co-parenting relationships.

  6. When you create your parental agreement, you are more likely to stick to it, and are more willing to negotiate changes if necessary.

There are certain situations where mediation is not the best option:

  1. If the parents have an active child abuse or neglect case (a court hearing must be held to determine if mediation is an option).

  2. If there is a personal protection order or no contact order in effect (a court hearing must be held to determine if mediation is an option).

  3. If one or both people are not comfortable with sharing the children's needs and concerns.

  4. If one or both people do not feel safe meeting or negotiating on their own behalf. 

  5. If there are safety risks for one or both parties that cannot be accommodated.

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