Jacksonville, NC asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Child Custody for North Carolina

Q: Which would be better for me... I truly can’t afford a lawyer but I want to see my child. mediation or other?

I am currently struggling to see my child. The other parent makes to many hoops and I jump but still nothing. I can afford a lawyer at the time. I was curious as to going about filing for mediation. I just want my rights as a father to see my child. Nothing out of way or anything like that. I do support my child. Any help would be nice

2 Lawyer Answers

Kelli Y Allen

  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: Mediation can be very effective. I recommend trying mediation as early in the process as possible, as you can save a lot of time and money if it works. You don't indicate whether there has been a court filing yet, but if so, the judge will actually order mediation. If a court case has not been filed, mediation may prevent the need for attorneys and it keeps the decision-making between the parties rather than turning that over to a judge.

Melissa Averett

  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: You can't file for just mediation. You can file for custody, and then once you file for custody, free custody mediation through the court system is required in NC.

If you go to mediation outside the court system, and no court action has been filed, and it's doubtful that you're going to end up with an agreement that can be enforced because mediators cannot write the formal agreement.

But if you file for custody, and then go through Court mediation, if you reach an agreement in mediation, then that agreement can be signed by a judge and become an enforceable order of the Court.

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