Reaching an Agreement on Child Custody and Child Support Using Mediation

Rhode Island Child Custody Mediator

Parents know their child best. They've seen how their child responds to change. They know their child's schedule inside and out. They know their child's social network – friends, family, important people at school, at church. They care deeply about their child's well being.

Why leave one of the most important decisions affecting your child's life up to people who don't know your child?

Mediation can be a particularly beneficial and effective method for arriving at a customized parenting plan. Whether you are getting divorced or you were never married but now want to have a formal agreement about shared parenting, Rhode Island child custody mediator Kerry Rafanelli can help you reach that goal.

In addition to the typical benefits of mediation , using mediation to arrive at a child custody and child support agreement can:
  • Ensure all important issues have been covered and nothing forgotten. Mr. Rafanelli has been helping people through the process of divorce for more than 30 years. He is well aware of the issues that can become a problem at a later time.
  • Provide a helpful structure for conversations (or arguments) you may have been having for some time but never resolving. The presence of a neutral third person can change the dynamics of a conversation completely. If you and the other parent have tried to work things out before, only to find the conversation degenerating into a fight, chances are a mediator can help you move forward productively.
  • Make sure your voice is heard and your opinions considered. One of the biggest frustrations clients voice in law offices is that they were never listened to during their marriage, and now the court isn't listening to them. They want to be heard. Listening is the foundation of effective mediation. You WILL have an opportunity to be heard.
  • Allow you greater latitude to include things in your parenting plan that might not be part of a typical plan.
  • Provide an invaluable opportunity to practice working together for the benefit of your child. After all, you will need to work together for many years to come.

Why Mediate Child Support?

Rhode Island, like most states, has child support guidelines that the family court judge uses to determine how much child support a parent will pay, or receive, based largely on parental income. It can be adjusted upward or downward, but that decision will be made by a judge and will involve a court hearing.

Parents usually have a better understanding of their child's needs and of their own financial needs and situation. The state has one answer for everyone, but by using mediation to agree on child support, you can create a support agreement that works for you and your child.

  • Some children need more financial support that others, whether that be due to medical or educational needs or parental work schedules.
  • Some custodial parents don't need the amount of financial assistance that state guidelines mandate and would like to accommodate the other parent's financial need by reducing his/her support payment.
  • Some parents can easily afford to pay more on a monthly basis or to pay for college and they want to do so as a loving, fair and responsible parent.

Why Pay More to Lose a Fight?

For lawyers like Mr. Rafanelli, who have spent decades in family court presenting cases before every family law judge, the outcome of a child support or child custody case is fairly predictable. But for clients who have never gotten divorced before – and that's most people – family court is a mystery and almost anything can happen.

Perhaps that's why they are susceptible to claims by some lawyers that they can get everything they want if they fight it out in court.

You can spend a lot of money fighting, with no guarantee of success. But it's far more effective – and cost-effective -- to work together to arrive at an agreement that the court can approve. You've avoided damaging the relationship you have with the other parent and you've gotten an agreement you can both live with. When you've worked on it together, it's far more likely that both parties will try to live up to that agreement.

If you're ready to find a solution that works for you and your family, contact child custody mediator Kerry Rafanelli to schedule a consultation.