The process of divorce can be settled quickly if there are no children involved. However, if there are children involved, divorcing parents must resolve the custody arrangement, prioritizing the best interests of the children. In California and everywhere else in the country, parents have different views toward child custody. Some parents think that one parent is enough to raise the child while others prefer shared custody in order for each parent to have equal time to spend with the child.
Every child custody case is unique. Often, child custody disputes are settled through litigation where both parties argue in front of the judge. Parents who want to settle the issue through litigation need to understand that the outcome depends on the judge's discretion, not theirs.
Parents who want to deviate from the traditional path and use an alternative option may try collaboration. Unlike mediation, where both parties discuss child custody issues in front of a mediator or a neutral party, collaborative law allows both parties to be represented by their attorneys while they are discussing child custody. Collaborative law enables both parties to reach an agreement that benefits both sides through a direct approach.
While using collaborative law, divorcing parents can work with child specialists who can help them to develop a mutual parenting plan. Additionally, collaborative law allows both parents to talk through child custody issues, allowing both parents to hear each other's thoughts and suggestions and come up with the best child custody arrangement for everyone involved.
In the end, it is the child who will reap the benefits of the child custody arrangement the most. Therefore, parents should make sure they explore all their options -- including the possibility of a collaborative divorce -- before ending up in court.
Source: CNBC, "Collaborative divorce can ease emotional, economic stress," Deborah Nason, May 2, 2014