Are you fighting over child custody or visitation? Don’t do it if at all possible, we say. It compounds the pain of separation for kids and likely causes more lasting harm.
Far better to decide for yourselves on your own terms than to have a court do it for you after you’ve torn each other down. And if that makes sense to you, L.A. County thinks you can work it out, too.
Two months ago, the L.A. Superior Court launched a new online tool to help people settle child custody and visitation on their own. It’s called the Online Dispute Resolution program, and there’s no charge to use it during the court closures and public-health orders.
How does it work? When one parent initiates the program, the other gets an email inviting him or her to participate. Hopefully, you will have talked about it beforehand and bought in to the idea. If so, the program will help you negotiate a parenting plan, and if you agree, it will generate the agreement for you. Then you can file the agreement with the court, and if it’s approved, your plan becomes the court’s order. If you can’t agree then you must mediate or litigate as you otherwise would, but expect delays in the current climate.
It’s better to agree if you can.
Because life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.