If you and your spouse are having trouble reaching an agreement, you should consider mediation. A mediator specializes in helping people reach an agreement that is fair and will last. The sessions are confidential. A mediator's role may be limited to custody. You may also ask to cover other issues such as marital property if you choose. Mediation is not appropriate in cases where there is a genuine issue of physical or sexual abuse of the child or one of the parties. It is also important to get a legal advisor for this process. The mediator's role is not to take sides, but to bring the two sides together. Additionally, if the mediator is not an attorney, he/she may be unaware of some specific legal issues.
How to find a family law mediator
Several states require mediation in custody and visitation disputes and a number of others allow courts to order mediation. In these situations, the court will direct the parents to the mediator and will pay for the services. Parents can also find and pay for the mediator themselves. With increasing frequency, family law attorneys are offering mediation services for child custody and other divorce-related disputes, as are a number of non-lawyer community mediators. Two resources for finding a family law mediator in your area are:
Academy of Family Mediators
Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR)