What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where two parties work with an impartial, professional in order to reach an agreement. Mediation can occur over the telephone, videoconference, or with both parents present in the same location. Since most international custody matters involve parents in different countries, mediation can be a useful and more cost effective tool for resolving parental differences.
Experts also believe that mediation can help prevent or resolve difficult international abductions. With a neutral party assisting, mediation can often help parents set aside significant conflicts and resolve a custody dispute with an agreement that is beneficial to both parties. In cases where one parent is upset because they were denied access to the child, mediation can assist parents in resolving their problems. Moreover, once parties have reached an agreement, parties can file documents with the court to create an enforceable order.
When considering mediation, parents should always consult an experienced attorney who is familiar with mediation. Mediation is not the right option for every parent or every case. Additionally, some more savvy parties may attempt to use mediation to delay Hague Convention return cases so that they do not meet the one-year timeframe set forth in Article 12 of the Convention. Parents considering this should be advised by an experienced attorneys to ensure their case with Hague is not affected if they have decided to use mediation.
How Mediation Can Help:
Mediation is generally a private process, and therefore not open to the public. As a method for resolving disputes, mediation can be a less expensive alternative to traditional court proceedings. It may also be easier, more efficient and less time consuming to pursue mediation.
In addition to costs and time saving measures, mediation can help parents reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Furthermore, having a third party neutral mediator can help mitigate conflict between parents and prevent upheaval for the child.
Mediators in the United States:
Each state has its own rules, requirements and practices for mediation. However, it is important to note that the United States does not have uniform training and standard qualifications for mediators. Mediators can be trained as attorneys, psychologists or other professionals. U.S. Mediators may or may not be able to work in conjunction with mediators abroad.
This list is not intended to be entirely comprehensive. It is intended only to assist parents in keeping their children safe and helping to prevent child abduction. Consult with your attorney before making any decisions that could impact the outcome of your legal case. For more tips and advice, contact your local police department, FBI office or country officer in the Office of Children’s Issues.
About The National Academy for Child Abduction Prevention Associates, LLC:
Founded in 2013 by Roy M. Doppelt, Esq., the National Academy for Child Abduction and Prevention Associates, LLC is an Academy of family law attorneys advocating prevention of child abduction through public education and professional collaboration. We believe that educating the public about kidnapping and its prevention is a paramount duty of attorneys who represent family law clients.