It is important that all the information is availed to the courts -- information that would support your case or harm it. Courts usually come up with an effective parenting plan that has close resemblance to the situation at the time of going through the divorce. It is therefore important that you come up with your own plan that you can present to the presiding judge. When this is done, the judge will assume immediately that the arrangement you have at that point is working somehow and will use that as a starting point before any other changes in the future. Another assumption is that both parents have already come to an agreement to some degree or have at least agreed on the plan. When things are really bad and there is a total breakdown in communication, the courts are at liberty to give direction.
Psychological examinations may be done on one or both parents and the children in some cases to help the court make the best decision. In such a case the huge problem is determining psychological or emotional problems in that family. After this has been done, the evaluation will be used to determine what could be normal for that particular individual. Rarely does such an evaluation fall outside ranges of being normal. After an evaluation, a recommendation is then prepared. The recommendation is formed using an ideal parenting strategy and the child's history up until that time. Most evaluations avoid causing any disruption to the life of the child and with good reason.
Once the fate of the child or children has been decided, parents have to go back to the drawing board and focus on making it work. Mediation makes this a whole engagement easy.
States just assume that the parenting plan is the one that is in the best interest of the child. The court only comes in when both parties cannot come to a sensible agreement.
Child visitation rights and custody can become a real legal problem and the issue is compounded when parties do not want to do anything to keep things civil. When this happens, the person who suffers the most is the child. It's for this reason that many states advice parties to go through the divorce process through the assistance of a mediator.
In the event that both parents cannot come to an amicable agreement regarding the future of their child or children, child litigation is usually the next course of action. That presents a lot of problems. At this juncture, the parents cannot reason together and all communication has gone out the window. This same lack of communication will most likely have contributed to the marriage disintegrating in the first place. These same individuals who are not communicating are still the ones who are required to shed such habits for the sake of their child's future. If they are not able to do this visitation and custody questions are prepared for them and not by them.
Mediation options are provided by the court and parents who are having a hard time coming to an agreement about visitation rights and custody can use such services. For most cases, private mediation is the better option as it gives the parent a certain degree of flexibility to look into detail into issues and to decide if they need more time to deal with emotions arising from a divorce process. When such a mediation is granted by a superior court, lawyers are not allowed to be present.
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