If parents can agree on how to divide physical and legal custody, a family court will typically review this agreement and formalize it via custody orders. When parents are unable to agree about any aspect of child custody, however, the court may:
- Order parents to attend mediation: Child custody mediation can provide a space for both parents to express their concerns, needs, and goals. Through mediation, parents can work on custody issues in a private setting outside of court. However, mediation may not be appropriate or helpful in certain situations (like if either party refuses to compromise).
- Make a child custody determination: When mediation fails to resolve the dispute – When custody issues cannot be resolved out of court, the family court will oversee the case and make the final determination based on the child’s best interests.