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Here's how you can work together to resolve custody concerns

As parents of a young child, the last thing you want to do is drag your child through a long, contentious divorce. Child custody can be resolved without going to trial if you and your spouse can work together. One process to consider is out-of-court alternative dispute resolution. This ADR program helps you come up with a solution without involving a judge who could make a final decision you don't agree with or have difficulty changing in the future.

Most custody cases are resolved outside the court system, and many are created through informal settlements between parents. With ADR, you're in a more structured environment, but the process isn't as formal as going to trial. You will have the option of going through mediation sessions and working with your attorneys to negotiate and plan out the best custody arrangements for your child, giving you time to consider what will or won't work instead of relying on the opinion of a single judge.

Both you and your spouse will participate in this process, allowing you to come up with a solution instead of having a third party make the decision for you. If you need more structure than mediation or collaboration allows for, consider arbitration. A third party makes a decision after hearing your evidence and arguments. This person is a neutral party. His or her decision isn't always binding, but it can be depending on the kind of arbitration you agree to.

Finally, after you determine your custody arrangements, a final, written document is produced by your attorneys. This is then given to a judge for final approval.

Source: FindLaw, "Working Together to Resolve Custody," accessed Jan. 05, 2017

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