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California requires an extra step for contentious custody cases

There are typically only two possible approaches to settling child custody matters in a divorce in most states. The couple can work together and arrange their own custody settlement, an act that gives them total control over the final terms. This is often considered the best solution, as it minimizes conflict. 

If they cannot reach a compromise together, then they have to go to court. In a litigated custody scenario, a family law judge will have to review the unique family circumstances and determine what would be best for the children. Usually, they will try to keep both parents actively involved. However, before you can go to court and ask for a judge to rule on custody, there is another step that you will likely have to take if you cannot reach your own custody settlement. 

California mandates custody mediation

In California, before you can take up the court’s time and ask the judge to decide how to split custody, you will most likely have to go through mediation first. You and your ex will both need your own attorneys, and you will meet with a mediator who will try to help you work out a settlement. 

A mediator can help you see the situation from the other person’s perspective or give you more insight into ways that you can compromise with one another. You may want to consider hiring a private mediator if you think you will need more than one session to reach a workable solution with your spouse. 

Learning more about the custody process would make it easier for you to navigate the courts during a contentious divorce