Ground Rules for Custody Mediation and Modification

Abstract

This Article describes an approach to resolving some of the strategic and ethical problems faced by attorneys who wish to mediate the custody disputes of divorcing parents. Part I of the Article sets forth some of the issues custody mediators necessarily confront and the setting in which we attempted to resolve them. Part II discusses the mediation ground rules that we developed to ensure that the mediation process would be both beneficial for the child and his family and ethical for attorneys working with mental health professionals. Because future disputes might develop and circumstances could change, Part III suggests a mechanism to be included in separation agreements for reevaluating and, if necessary, modifying custody agreements reached through mediation. Finally, Part IV suggests factors that courts might consider in reviewing custody agreements that are developed through mediation. Appendix A reprints the full text of the mediation retainer agreement that describes our ground rules for the mediation process. Appendix B reprints that portion of a custody agreement that we developed in mediation which describes a mechanism for settling parents\u27 future custody disputes

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This paper was published in bepress Legal Repository.

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