Child Custody and Visitation Mediation Program

Mediation helps reduce the stress of conflict and keeps parents focused on the best interest of children.

More Information


In accordance with North Carolina General Statute 50-13.1, all cases involving contested custody and visitation issues of minor children will be sent to the Custody Mediation and Visitation Program before or concurrent with the setting of the matter for hearing, unless the court waives mediation.

Mediation is a guided conversation that provides an alternative way for families to address their parenting conflicts, exchange information, and discuss co-parenting from different homes.

When parents separate or already live in separate homes, they often turn to the court to resolve disputes regarding custody and visitation. Families can save time, money, and the stress of a custody trial if they reach a parenting agreement in the Child Custody and Visitation Mediation Program. If a parenting agreement is completed and signed by both parties, a judge reviews it and may incorporate it into a court order.

Participation in the North Carolina Custody Mediation Program involves two mandatory steps:

  1. An orientation class to prepare you for mediation, and
  2. One mediation session.  

During the confidential mediation session, the mediator:

  • Helps the parties identify, clarify, and articulate their concerns regarding the children.
  • Facilitates a discussion that helps parties explore possible plans addressing the needs of the children while meeting the concerns of the parties. These plans include how the children will spend time with each party in separate homes and how major decisions will be made for the children in the future. Parties also talk about other parenting considerations that are important to them.  
  • Remains balanced and non-judgmental in mediation. The parties are not required to reach an agreement in mediation.
  • Does not make decisions for the parties. If the parties do not agree in mediation, the case will be scheduled for court.