I have had many parents ask me why they have to participate in mediation. They often explain that they have not been able to reach an agreement with their child’s other parent on their own, and therefore mediation just won’t work. What those parents don’t realize, and what I explain to them, is that Wisconsin’s family court laws have made mediation the required first step. Wisconsin Statute 767.405(5) directs that a court must refer parents with placement and custody disputes to their county’s mediation program. In addition, parents are required to attend a parenting class, which usually doubles as the mediation orientation session. The focus of this programming is often related to co-parenting communication and explanations of how the mediation process works. Though you should not agree to any custody arrangements you can’t deal with for at least a couple years, most of the local counties have very high rates of successfully getting parents to an agreement. There are only limited circumstances in which you can bypass the mediation process and proceed directly to a GAL (guardian ad litem).
As March roars in like a baby lion, we are running a charity contest. For every new LIKE on Petit & Dommershausen’s Facebook page in March, Petit & Dommershausen will donate $1 (up to $500) to the Oshkosh Area Humane Society!!
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