Mediation could help with contentious child custody negotiations

After making the decision to file for divorce, couples may discover a long list of important issues that they must resolve before their split is finalized. One crucial aspect of divorce for many people is determining how child custody arrangements will shake out. Of course, parents want to do what they believe is best for their kids, but there may be serious differences in opinion about what the best arrangement is.

Above all, parents should remember that the child's needs should be the top concern. When emotion enters the picture, it may be easy for otherwise level-headed people to lose sight of this objective. A divorce mediator can help couples work through their differences and work toward a custody arrangement and settlement that will be beneficial.

David Tutera, who is known for creating picture-perfect weddings on TV, has actually been going through marital problems with his partner for the last several years. After completing counseling and deciding to have kids with the help of a surrogate, the couple finally decided to separate. Tutera filed for divorce in California in early 2013.

Through surrogacy, Tutera and his partner have two children, and each is biologically the father of one child. Tutera has taken custody of his biological daughter and his partner has retained custody of his biological son, but the half-siblings are living across the country from each other. In an interview, Tutera said he would like the children to be able to grow up together, but the men are at an impasse in negotiations.

Now that same-sex marriage is once again legal in California, married couples have stronger legal framework to settle custody disputes. Mediation may be an effective way for parents to work past disputes in order to do what's best for their kids.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "David Tutera's twins separated during split with Ryan Jurica," Nardine Sand, Sept. 13, 2013

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