Child Custody and Visitation Mediation Program

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

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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 those issues are tried in court.MediationWhen parents separate or already live in separate homes, they often turn to the court to resolve disputes regarding custody, visitation, and child support. This process, involving lengthy negations with lawyers or trial with judges and witnesses, in the separation of family can lead to intense stress, hurt feelings, extensive financial expense and traumatized children. Mediation is guided conversation that provides an alternate way for families to address their conflicts, exchange information, discuss the best way to parent from different homes, and make decisions that can help them avoid going to court.  

Participation in the North Carolina Custody Mediation Program involves participation in 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 that address the needs of the children while meeting the concerns of the parties. These plans include how the children will spend time with each parent 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. You and your co-parent are not required to reach an agreement in mediation
  • Does not make decisions for you.  If you and your co-parent do not agree in mediation, your case will be scheduled for court.

If a Parenting Agreement is completed and signed by both parties, a judge reviews it and may incorporate it into a court order.