If you know that your husband is totally unreasonable regarding child custody, will it save legal fees to go straight to family court and skip over mediation? He has incorporated his girlfriend into our 3 kids life early on in the separation. When he has the kids, his time is spent with her and not them. The kids close the doors to their rooms, or go outside, at his rental place to avoid seeing him hug and kiss all over her. I have heard that people pay for mediation and walk away empty handed with no changes. Trying to hold these legal fees downs. Any advise would be appreciated. As the mother, I feel I need full custody since my head is on straight and no outside involvements. My focus will be on these kids.
Skipping an attempt at an out-of-court settlement and filing a custody court action instead is best if you believe the other parent will not agree to anything you offer or is unreasonable, or if you believe the custody case could have high conflict. You are right that it is possible to negotiate an out-of-court settlement but not actually be able to agree on all the terms of a settlement, in which case you would then have to file a court action.
Keep in mind that North Carolina requires custody mediation through the court system when a custody action is filed, but there is no additional cost.