Child Custody and Visitation

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If you have children and CANNOT agree about custody and visitation

The protected person and the restrained person will have to go to mediation through Family Court Services if they have children and CANNOT agree about custody and visitation.

  • The protected person has the right to bring a support person to mediation.
  • He or she can also ask the mediator to meet separately with him or her (and the support person) without the restrained person being present.

Mediation gives parents a chance to work out how they will share time with their children and how decisions that affect the children will be made.

  • The court has child custody mediators available at no cost to the parents.
  • If the parents reach an agreement, the mediator may write it up so that each can sign it and give it to the judge.

If the parents still can't agree, the court might do one or more of the following things:

  • Ask the mediator to recommend a parenting plan he or she thinks would be in the child's best interests;
  • Appoint an investigator or evaluator to tell what parenting plan he or she thinks would be in the child's best interests; or
  • Conduct a trial where the parents will have the chance to tell what each thinks would be best for their children, including calling witnesses, and then have the judge make a decision in the case.

It may be that "supervised visitation" is recommended. "Supervised visitation" means the child can visit the other parent IF another adult is present.

  • Ask your mediator if there is a "supervised visitation center" where you live.
  • If there is no center in your area, talk with your mediator about other options.



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