When family law cases are decided, they might be held in open court. This can bring the details of child custody, child support matters, and other personal details of your divorce and situation into the public eye in a way you might be justifiably uncomfortable with. Like other decisions made in open court, child support may become a matter of public record, which is definitely not something you want if you can possibly avoid it. When a couple splits, one parent (or both) expects they will be required to pay child support. But for many people, child support and other finances are personal, and they would prefer to keep them that way. Your financial situation is simply no one else’s business.
With mediation, you and your partner can agree on child support without ever setting foot in court. Child support details are kept between the parents, and until the support agreement is filed with the court, no one else beyond your mediator will set eyes on it.
With litigation, an attorney is fighting to secure a “victory” for their client, and to that end, anything is fair game: your gross income, assets, financial records, employment history, credit history, tax information, and much more can be dragged into the fray and exposed. With the mediation process, couples are working to establish a child support situation that benefits everyone and can approach each other without feeling like combatants. As long as all involved are open and honest, the kind of brutal searches common in litigation can be avoided–and a mediator has no authority to obtain any records or information unless you provide it.
As long as you and your partner are open about assets, you should have no trouble crafting a child support order in mediation. Even if you worry you’ll never be able to agree, a public court battle should be a last resort.
Working with a mediator to set child support can be much faster than determining support through the court. Parents work together to determine the payments and other details related to child custody and support. If both parties are on close to the same page and approach the child support mediation with an open mind, a readiness to communicate, and a willingness to compromise, child support guidelines can be established, reviewed, agreed upon, and filed, all in the span of a few months.
Even if parents don’t see eye to eye on child support at first, a mediator trained to both offer legal advice and address the emotional concerns of both parents can help them reach a compromise. Difficult and complex child support issues can take longer to resolve, but in most cases, it’s still far quicker and easier to use mediation to set child support than to go through attorneys and the court. This means getting it over with and getting on with your life as soon as you can.