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Mediation and trial: Focus on best interests of children

Child custody cases are often very difficult, and it is possible for parents to add to the difficulties. All child custody cases must focus on the best interests of the children involved. This focus sometimes falls to the wayside when parents are working on child custody issues.

Keeping the focus on the children is more difficult than it sounds. You should be prepared to stay on track as you try to work out child custody issues.

Working out child custody through mediation

If you and your ex can work together for child custody matters, you will likely be able to come to an agreement through mediation. It is important that if you are attempting this, you take the child's best interests into account. It is very easy to try to do things that will have a negative impact on your ex instead of doing what is best for your child. This can't happen because your child will be the one to suffer from the decision to use child custody matters to get back at the other parent.

During mediation, the mediator will try to keep the discussions on track. If you feel that things are veering off from the best interests of your child, you can always speak to the mediator about your concerns.

Child custody orders through trial

If your child custody issues can't be resolved through mediation, the court will work to get the matter decided. This means that you will lay out your case in court and your ex will lay out that side of the case. The judge will then decide what happens.

The court looks at several factors to determine the best interests of the child. If the child is old enough, he or she might have a say in the matter. The mental and physical health of both parents, the ability of each parent to care for the child, and the ability to provide a stable home environment will all be considered. The court will also look into the relationship of each parent with the child, and matters related to domestic violence are also factors.

As you work through the child custody matters at hand, remember that these orders might be able to be changed in the future when the child's needs change. These modifications will focus on the same priorities as other child custody matters -- the best interests of the child.

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