There are two situations in which a parent in Pennsylvania might need to meet with a child custody mediator. One is if the mediation is court-ordered. The other is if the other parent requests a session with a mediator. In the former case, a parent must comply with the court order.
Not complying with the court order could result in being held in contempt of court. It could also make the judge view the parent as uncooperative. A parent who refuses to go into mediation at the request of the other parent does not face any specific legal penalties, but it could still be viewed as a lack of cooperation by the judge, and this could hurt a parent’s bid for custody. However, if the parent submits a valid reason for not going to mediation at the request of the other parent, a judge is unlikely to see the refusal as uncooperative. One parent cannot force the other to go to mediation.
There may be one or more sessions of mediation, and each one may last two to three hours. A parent who is unsure whether mediation will be valuable may want to give it a try. Mediators generally have each parent give their side of the story. The mediator will try to help the parents reach an agreement.
A parent who is going through a divorce may want to consult a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, family law alternative dispute resolution lawyers. Mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, such as a collaborative divorce, may help parents resolve child custody issues in an atmosphere of mutual cooperation instead of one that is adversarial. Parents may also want to consider a parenting agreement that addresses any issues they are concerned about and that attempts to establish some consistency between household expectations as the child moves between their homes.