Mediation as an alternative to a long trial

Court mediation is an alternative to a long and often strenuous trial in custody dispute cases. It is a special mediation service that parents may use when the assistance provided within other divorce services has proved to be insufficient.

Questions that may be brought up in the course of mediation are parents' disagreements concerning the custody, living arrangements, right of access and maintenance of a child. In addition, many such matters concerning the everyday life of a child that cannot be handled in a trial may be settled in the mediation. The goal of mediation is that the parents reach a durable agreement that is in the best interests of the child.

The mediator is a judge acquainted with family matters, and he or she is assisted by an expert in parenting and child development matters, usually a psychologist or a social worker. This kind of multi-professional working team is capable of supporting the parents in solving both the legal and psychological problems they may encounter in a divorce situation. The purpose of expert assistance is to ensure that questions that are essential with regard to the best interests of the child are handled in the course of mediation and that the settlement reached is in the best interests of the child.

In mediation, a matter is handled in an informal manner through discussion. Mediation mainly consists of discussions conducted with both the parents present, but if need be, the mediator may also discuss with either of the parents in private. The mediator and the expert assistant may also discuss the matter with the child, if this is agreed upon with the parents.

The parents may engage the services of a legal counsel if they so wish.

Updated on 18 April 2016
Ministry of Justice

Court mediation of custody disputes (pdf, 1.02 Mt)