Summons for Child Custody

Hi JustUs-

Alot of people get nervous about mediation but its really not anything to be nervous about. When you go to the first scheduled date of your mediation, it will just be an orientation. Your ex will probably be there too. You watch a film about the mediation process and the benefits of resolving your issues out of court. At the end of orientation, the coordinator will schedule you and your ex for mediation counseling on a date you both agree upon.

When you go back for your mediation counseling, it will be a session for just you, your spouse, and the coordinator. It is an opportunity for you and your ex to try and resolve some or all of your custody/visitation issues reasonably outside of the courtroom. There are no attorneys there and nothing that is said in mediation is recorded or can be used in court later against you. The thing to remember is you do not have to agree to anything you don’t feel comfortable with. These sessions are merely a way for you and your ex to try and resolve and or compromise on issues of custody and visitation in a neutral setting.

If you and your ex do come to an agreement on some or all of the issues the mediator types up the agreement and takes it to the judge to sign for your file. If all issues get resolved you don’t have to take your case to court.

Also, just because you have visitation already in a separation agreement does not mean that that will necessarily be the result of mediation. It depends on what you and your ex agree to.

When I went to mediation with my ex ions ago, my ex all of a sudden wanted joint custody for our daughter and for her to live with me one week and him the next. This arrangement did not work well for us so nothing got settled in mediation and we ended up having a long custody battle.

If you can compromise and try to work things out but just remember not to agree to anything you might not be comfortable with down the road as the agreement that comes out of this will be in effect for a long time.

Since you have not previously gone to court for custody, the courts will view this as the initial custody. The current agreement you have, while legal, can still be changed by a court order.

Also keep in mind that when the judge signs off on this it will be a court order, meaning that only another court order can change it. Unless, you mutually change the agreement, you would have to go back to mediation and court to have this changed.

It’s often cheaper and easier to attempt to try to work something out with your ex. You know what you can live with and what you can arrange. Try to keep an open mind when you go to mediation. Try not to go in dead set against anything the ex suggests.
Even if he was not the model father previously, that does not mean that he is not capable. Just something to think about. IMHO, you shouldn’t spend the time and money on fighting your ex if there’s not a solid reason not to allow what amounts to 6-8 more days a month.

During the orientation session they talk to you about litigation and the impact it can have on your children. You also see a video which talks to you about the mediation process through the courts. Even if there is a separation agreement in place the court still has the authority to modify custody.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

I am assuming that your ex sued you for full custody. Many men do this as a control issue. What about your agreement does he not like? Is the current arrangement working well for the children? Anyway, he has started the process and it can be a long, drawn out expensive process. If an agreement cannot be reached via mediation, then the Court will probably Order a custody evaluation. This process takes several months and is quite expensive. The Court usually agrees with the evaluator’s recommendations. It is unlikely that your ex-spouse will be granted sole custody of the children.

My ex had me severed on Friday. We have to attend a Orientation/Mediation on 11/20/08. What should i expect? If we already had a sep. agree. in place with the child custody outlined do you think I’m pretty much covered? It was not court ordered but is considered legal.