How to peacefully resolve a dispute with your co-parent
Though you and your ex both want what’s best for your children, you might have very different ideas about what that looks like. Even with child custody and child support orders in place, disputes between parents can arise. Maybe one parent believes the custody arrangement is unfair, so they refuse to comply. Or the parents cannot agree on which school the kids should attend.
No matter how emotional the dispute or how strained your relationship with your co-parent is, there are ways of settling the matter without having to go to court. Methods that save you time and money and can keep the child support or child custody matter from blowing up into something that requires expensive and stressful litigation.
Mediation: working with a trained neutral party
For example, mediation is a popular way of resolving family law disputes between divorced parents in Metro Atlanta. Instead of acting as combatants, the parents work with a neutral third-party mediator to try to negotiate a settlement. The mediator is someone trained in Georgia family law, usually an attorney or retired judge. Each mediator has their own methods, but generally, they give each parent the chance to give their side of the story on every issue, then suggest possible solutions for the parents to consider. Parents who go into mediation in good faith and focus on their children’s best interests can work together to reach an agreement both of them can live with.
Arbitration: more like trial
Arbitration is another popular form of alternative dispute resolution. It’s a little more like a trial than mediation, but less formal. Instead of taking place in a public courtroom in front of a judge, arbitration happens in private with an arbiter as the decision-maker. The rules are also less strict, though there are procedures. Each side presents their case to the arbiter, who later issues a binding decision.
Before deciding whether to try ADR or traditional settlement negotiations potentially leading to trial, you need to know which option best fits your particular parental dispute. Consulting your family law attorney can help clarify things.